The Republican-controlled House has refused to vote on the Senate’s immigration bill that included amnesty for more than 12 million illegal immigrants. Instead, House lawmakers are holding out for increase border protections against illegal crossings, strengthened interior enforcement, and reforming the bureaucratic immigration process.
“The House of Representatives should not abdicate its responsibility to reform our immigration laws to the president,” Udall said in a statement.
Obama announced Monday he would redirect interior immigration resources to the southern border to help him identify what actions he can take unilaterally to bypass Congress, including new protections to block illegal immigrants from being deported and granting new work permits.
“I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” Obama said Monday during a prepared speech.
Udall has urged the president since early June to take unilateral action if the House refused to pass the Senate’s amnesty bill.
“The White House should take immediate steps to curb the deportation of immigrants that is breaking up families whose only crime is seeking a better life for themselves,” said a statement issued by Udall’s office.
Republican Rep. Cory Gardner who is challenging Udall for the Senate seat says he has spent more than a year calling for meaningful reform of the government’s broken immigration system, but cautioned Obama against acting unilaterally.
“When the president acts outside the legal boundaries of his office, he undermines trust with the very members of Congress who can deliver on that promise,” Gardner said.
Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, a member of the so-called “Group of 8” who wrote the immigration bill passed in April 2013, criticized House Speaker John Boehner for playing politics by refusing to bring their measure up for a vote. Bennet did not comment on Obama’s plan to act by administrative fiat.
Republicans criticized the president’s proposed actions and already blame the surge of Central American children abandoned at the border by their parents on the administration’s drive to grant amnesty.
Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn called Obama’s actions “yet another showcase of an out-of-control presidency.”
“We have a president who we cannot trust to enforce the immigration laws already on the books. That is why the House will not pass the Senate immigration amnesty bill,” Lamborn said.
“President Obama has created the humanitarian problems on our southern border by proposing executive orders to loosen up our immigration laws. To believe that he will address these problems with more executive orders is insulting and should deeply concern the American people,” Lamborn said.