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Boehner, GOP Slam Obama's Immigration Delay: 'Smacks of Raw Politics'

By    |   Saturday, 06 September 2014 07:15 PM

Republicans on Saturday slammed President Barack Obama's delay of executive action on immigration until after the November congressional elections, with House Speaker John Boehner charging that the about-face "smacks of raw politics."

"There is a never a 'right' time for the president to declare amnesty by executive action," Boehner said.

He said that the president should be more concerned about "abandoning the idea altogether" rather than taking "deeply controversial and possibly unconstitutional unilateral action" on immigration.

"The American people deserve honesty, transparency, and accountability — and any unilateral action will only further strain the bonds of trust between the White House and the people they are supposed to serve," the Ohio congressman said.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar told Newsmax that Obama taking executive action "was a losing battle for him and the Democratic Party. There was a resounding absolutely 'no.'

"The American public is fed up with what they've seen, particularly with his lack of enforcement of the rule of law," Gosar added. "With the economic numbers being so poor, with deferred action, people are saying that 'if this is what he wants to do, let's get this on.'"

In a direct slap to immigration-reform advocates, President Obama reversed course and delayed taking executive action on the issue until after the midterm elections. The move bowed to fears that any action could cost Democrats control of the Senate.

The decision was a complete reversal from when Obama took to the Rose Garden in a high-profile announcement in June and vowed to act unilaterally by the end of summer if Congress did not pass immigration reform legislation.

In the past week, rumors had circulated on Capitol Hill that Obama would delay action until after the elections — and several Democrats in critical races urged the president to leave immigration reform to Congress.

These included Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, who charged that Obama’s priority should be border security. Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire also said that Obama should not act unilaterally on the issue even though the Republican-led House is unlikely to take up the issue on its own.

The GOP needs only six seats to win back control of the Senate. Boehner said this week that immigration reform could happen next year if Obama takes steps to secure the border.

"The reality the president has had to weigh is that we're in the midst of the political season," a White House official said, blaming the president's decision on partisan politics.

"And because of the Republicans' extreme politicization of this issue, the president believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to announce administrative action before the elections," the official said.

President Obama will move on immigration before the end of the year, according to the official.

While Obama's delay enraged immigration advocates, Republicans continued their attacks on the president for trying to usurp Congress with executive orders.

"President Obama has openly reaffirmed his unconstitutional plan to nullify our nation’s sovereign laws, issuing executive amnesty and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants," said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions. "In so doing, he will wipe away American workers' lawful immigration protections.

"Illegal workers will be instantly allowed to take precious jobs directly from struggling Americans in every occupation in America," he added. "Countless more unlawful workers will pour across the border and overstay their visas. These executive actions will incentivize a tsunami of illegality.

"The remedy now is for the American voter to send a message that will thunder through the halls of Congress," Sessions concluded. "Though President Obama and his Senate Democrats refuse to believe so, the American citizen is still in charge of this government and this country."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called Obama's delay "cynical."

"The president isn't saying he'll follow the law, he's just saying he'll go around the law once it's too late for Americans to hold his party accountable in the November elections," he said.

"This is clearly not decision-making designed around the best policy," the Kentucky senator added. "It's Washington politics at its worst.

"The president is required to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, not — as he has admitted — make them up as he sees fit. He recently said that the type of action he’s now contemplating is 'not an option' and 'would essentially be ignoring the law.'

"President Obama should enforce the law, and if he would like changes, Republicans and Democrats alike have said he must work with Congress in a transparent, accountable way — not rewrite the laws on his own," McConnell said.

Texas Rep. Lamar Smith told Newsmax that Obama's reversal was "an open admission that the president intends to take actions that the majority of Americans oppose.

"This is no surprise, coming from an administration that has avoided accountability and transparency at every turn," he added. "I continue to urge the president to take measured, legal actions that Americans support to address the surge at our southern border."

Alex Nowrasteh, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, told Newsmax that he, too, was not surprised by Obama's decision.

"The president has been far less supportive of reforming the immigration system than both he and his opponents have made him out to seem," Nowrasteh told Newsmax.

He cited several actions Obama took in his first two years in office, including moves to arrest more illegal immigrants inside the country, putting more funds toward border control and naming Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security.

As Arizona's governor in 2007, Napolitano signed legislation that required employers to confirm workers' eligibility for employment using federal databases. It threatened those who hired illegal workers with loss of licenses.

"And, he had a Congress controlled by Democrats, where he could have put through any immigration law he wanted to, but instead he wanted to do healthcare, the stimulus bill and other things that had nothing to do with the immigration problem," Nowrasteh said.

President Obama's announcement, he said, proved "that, one, he's not that committed to it politically, and, two, that the negative political consequences that could arise are much more important to him than actually doing any change to the immigration system.

"He's much more worried about the harm to a handful of Democrats who are running for the Senate than he is about small changes that he could make to the immigration system."

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Republicans on Saturday slammed President Barack Obama's delay of executive action on immigration until after the November congressional elections, with House Speaker John Boehner charging that the about-face smacks of raw politics. There is a never a 'right' time for...
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Saturday, 06 September 2014 07:15 PM
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