Obama defends immigration reform action

Executive action could lead to government shutdown, Republicans warnPresident Obama is unimpressed by criticism from Republicans over his decision to take executive action to prevent millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States being deported.

Speaking on the ABC show This Week on Sunday, Obama said that unilateral action was necessary to make sure that recent arrivals and criminals were deported but that those who have resided in the country for five years or more and now have roots in the nation, including children with US citizenship, are spared. “Why would we prefer a system in which they’re in the shadows, potentially taking advantage of living here but not contributing?” Obama noted in the interview, which was recorded two days earlier.

The president noted that Democratic and Republican presidents have in the past issued their own executive orders, arguing that presidents can and do make use of “prosecutorial discretion” on a regular basis. The Republican party has been vocal in condemning Obama’s decision to take executive action on the issue of immigration reform and has again displayed tremendous disunity with regard to how it would do things differently.

While Texas senator Ted Cruz accused the president of essentially “counterfeiting immigration papers, because there’s no legal authority to what he’s doing”, Senator Lindsey Graham was saving most of his ire for his own party, saying that the situation was as much the party’s fault as Obama’s for its spectacular failure to get the House of Representatives to pass an immigration bill of its own.