A group of 20 Republican senators led by Chuck Grassley of Iowa sent a letter to President Barack Obama late Tuesday criticizing his decision to cease deportation of some illegal immigrants who entered the country as youths.
“Not only do we question your legal authority to unilaterally act in this regard, we are frustrated that you have intentionally bypassed Congress and the American people,” the letter states, according to The Hill
. “As president you swore to uphold and defend the constitution and enforce laws. Your recently announced directive runs counter to that responsibility.”
The senators demand documents from Obama showing he asked for legal counsel to make sure that his order issued last Friday was constitutional. The directive ends the deportation of illegal immigrants meeting several requirements.
It applies to immigrants who came here before turning 16 and those who are younger than 30 if they have lived here for five years. Applicants can’t have a criminal record and must have graduated from a U.S. high school or served in the military.
Obama’s policy “runs contrary to the premise that American workers must come before foreign nationals,” the letter says. “It is astonishing that your administration would grant work authorizations to illegal immigrants during this time of record unemployment.”
The senators blasted dozens of questions to the White House about the policy and requested responses from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Many Republicans have been cautious in their response to Obama’s move, hoping to avoid alienating Hispanic voters. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that his GOP colleagues would wait for guidance from presidential nominee-to-be Mitt Romney on the issue. But apparently the 20 letter writers felt no need to delay.
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