South Florida Republican representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart have broken ranks with their party colleagues over the issue of immigration reform and President Obama’s decision to take executive action to enact some aspects of it. They voted against a bill to block the president’s orders on Friday and said that Congress needs to step up and enact full reform itself.
The two represent districts that have a heavy Latino demographic and have long been strong supporters of immigration reform and the idea of providing a pathway to legalization for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the United States. Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart both say that Obama is right when he says his actions are limited by the scope of his executive powers and that Congress needs to pass a broader bill to benefit the economy, modernize the US visa system and strengthen the security of the nation’s border while helping the undocumented.
The two joined other Republicans from different states, such as California, Indiana, Texas and Colorado, to oppose the passing of a resolution to disapprove of Obama’s actions. This is something that could be the first step in punishing the president while trying to avoid another government shutdown.
“The president himself has stated ‘there’s a limit on what [he] can do’”, the statement from the two Florida Republicans reads. “We continue to believe that the only legal and permanent solution is for Congress to pass legislation.”