Utah elected officials respond to Obama’s executive action on immigration

ST. GEORGE – Utah leaders are issuing statements of disapproval regarding President Obama’s executive action announced Thursday on immigration and amnesty.

Gov. Gary Herbert:

I am disturbed the president would take such divisive and unilateral action. The American system of government was designed to have laws created by the legislative branch, and those laws faithfully executed by the chief executive. We operate within that system in Utah and expect the same at the federal level. All Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, should be concerned about Pres. Obama’s blatant disregard of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Our broken immigration system compromises our national security and hampers our economy. However, the issue must be addressed by Congress. I am afraid the president’s action tonight will only poison the well and make resolution of the matter more difficult.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, who voted for the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill and was the only Republican outside of the Gang of 8 to support the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee, has repeatedly advocated for balanced immigration reform based on areas of widespread agreement, and introduced the bipartisan Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) Act with Sens. Klobuchar, Rubio, and Coons to reform the visa program for high-skilled workers based on market demand. In a statement released Thursday he said:

President Obama’s Executive Order undermines the rule of law and our Constitution, which obligates him to enforce the laws of the land. In doing so, he has demonstrated that his priorities are polarization  and partisanship, not working across the aisle to get things done. The President should heed his own wisdom—that broadening immigration enforcement carve-outs undermines the rule of law and are not an option. The way to get real and lasting immigration reform back on track is not for the President to insist on his my-way-or-the-highway approach, but rather to build trust by working together on areas where we can agree, like fixing high-skilled immigration.”

Sen. Mike Lee:

In a desperate attempt to remain relevant, the President has decided to defy the American people, ignore the election results, and usurp the legislative process.  This act demonstrates he respects neither election outcomes, nor the rule of law.  It will make the humanitarian crisis at the border worse, and could potentially create a constitutional crisis within our republic. Congress must respond to restore the proper checks and balances to our constitutional order, and it must do so quickly and forcefully.  I hope and expect there are a number of Democrats who are tired of being asked to protect the President, often at great political cost.  It’s time for them to stand with the American people.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz:

Tonight President Obama sent a message to the world: break our laws and you will be rewarded. This is a dangerous message to be sending. As long as the delays and penalties for navigating the legal process are more painful than the consequences of coming to the United States illegally, we will continue to have a problem regardless of how high or wide our fence is. Our immigration system is broken and in desperate need of reform. It cannot be fixed with a “pen” and a “phone”

There are many common ground reforms that can be agreed upon but are held hostage to the demand of comprehensive legislation. All-inclusive bills are not the answer. We need to stop ignoring simple fixes and work together to find a long-term solution to this broken system.

Rep. Rob Bishop released the following statement in anticipation of Obama’s announcement:

We are supposed to be a nation of laws, but what the President is doing is an abuse of his authority.   Like all Americans, I share a sense of compassion and understanding for families caught in these difficult circumstances, but the President’s plan does not fix the problem.  He has made it worse.  We desperately need a permanent solution, not an imperfect presidential mandate done in isolation. President Obama may think it is acceptable to exceed his own authority through executive action, but our founding fathers established clearly defined powers through the Constitution. The President missed an opportunity to work with Congress and instead has created a toxic atmosphere harming future efforts.  Amnesty is not an answer and it sends the wrong message to those who are going through the legitimate immigration process.  The first thing to fix is the porous border and that is where our attention should initially be focused.

Rep. Chris Stewart:

A presidential executive order on immigration clearly goes against the powers outlined in the Constitution. As the Constitution states,  it’s Congress’ responsibility is “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”. Like most Utahns, I recognize that our immigration system is broken and must be reformed, but the President’s use of executive orders and a call for amnesty isn’t the answer. Not only are his actions unconstitutional, but it goes against the will of the people and of Congress. If the president wants to reform immigration it must happen through the proper channels within Congress.

Updated Nov. 21 to include Hatch’s statements, Nov. 25 to include Stewart’s statements.

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  • Schwa November 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Sound statements from Utah’s leaders. Hopefully all states’ representatives will feel this way and there will be movement to impeach this overreaching, law breaking moron.

  • Deb Rogets November 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    The president is using his constitutional power to act on this issue.
    The House of Representitives have refused to pass legislation on a Bill that was passed by the Senate over 500 days ago…. You have refused to bring it up for a vote!!! Really!!!???
    Stop the propaganda, get off your …*, stop your party politics and get to WORK!!!!! Personally, I am sick of your disrespect towards the President of the United States.
    Several presidents in the past have taken executive acton on immigration reform.
    Get to Work!!!!!!!!!
    Ed. ellipsis …*

    • Brian November 21, 2014 at 9:06 am

      The amount of time that has passed is completely irrelevant. If I knock on your door to sell you something and you don’t answer for an hour, that still doesn’t give me the right to come in, take your money, and leave my product. The president swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, including the 3 branches of government and the separation of powers. He’s breaking that oath and going against the Constitution. Period.

      • Koolaid November 21, 2014 at 10:03 am

        I bet you voted for Swallow and Shurtleff

      • Richard C November 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

        So explain exactly what part of the oath and Constitution he’s breaking. I see a lot of blah blah blah yet with no substance and nothing illegal. I don’t care for Obama or his policies but I also don’t care for parrot who lack basic information.

    • dancing infidel November 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

      DEB ROGETS, I refuse to respect this so-called president (note that I will not even capitalize “president”). He does NOT respect this country nor its constitution. I was always taught that respect is earned…..not given merely for being “liking” a person. As long as this poor excuse for a president is in office and continues to demonstrate his lack of respect for Americans an America…..I WILL CONTINUE TO DISRESPECT THIS MORON!! He is a fraud!

      • Richard C November 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        Moron, hmmmm pot calling the kettle black indeed!

      • Amnesty 1986 November 23, 2014 at 10:01 am

        Ronald Reagan’s Amnesty for three million illegals:
        Public Law 99-603 (Act of 11/6/86), which was passed in order to control and deter illegal immigration to the United States. Its major provisions stipulate legalization of undocumented aliens who had been continuously unlawfully present since 1982 and legalization of certain agricultural workers.

  • Joe November 20, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Quoting Sen. Lee: “It will make the humanitarian crisis at the border worse, and could potentially create a constitutional crisis within our republic.”

    If the border was SECURE, there would not be a “humanitarian crisis.”

  • Opanke November 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    … RED StAtE
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • The Rest Of The Story November 20, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Amnesty will save the government billions. Reagan knew this, and so does Obama. Today’s Republicans, however, are only interested in partisan divisiveness and pants-wetting when they don’t get their own way. This is a pompous show of self-righteousness by Republicans, who claim to be concerned with fiscal matters, but who in reality are only concerned with their own political careers.

    • Brian November 21, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Amnesty will cost the taxpayers billions. There, I fixed it for you. Enforcing immigration costs WAY less than providing free services to 20+ million illegal immigrants. Or haven’t you heard about all of the hospitals going bankrupt in Texas, California, and elsewhere because the government requires them to provide services to illegals but doesn’t reimburse them for those services (which they shouldn’t, but they shouldn’t require them either). Just because I break onto your property and have a baby doesn’t mean you should have to pay for the delivery, give the child your last name, and raise them as your own. But that’s just what the wrong interpretation of the 14th Amendment is requiring America to do. The 14th was to give citizenship to the children of slaves brought her against their will, not free citizenship to the children of those who break into the country illegally.

      • Uh Huh November 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

        Oh yeah, all that started during the Obama years? We all should realize all those illegals picking fruits and oranges in Florida, California and Texas decades ago, even before Obama was born, is the fault of the Obama Administration. Have you been on drugs all your life? I met a farmer in Iowa, he harvested soybeans across the state of Iowa. He told me most of his employees were these illegals, mainly because Americans were too lazy for that type of labor. Did I mention this was after Reagan and during Bush?

        • Uh Huh November 21, 2014 at 10:11 am

          Doesn’t Iowa vote Republican? Republicans hiring illegals? Republicans complaining about illegals?

          • The Rest Of The Story November 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm

            Utah too. I have known business owners who hire undocumented workers and pay them cash. And they vote Republican and talk bad about Obama every chance they get!!

      • The Rest Of The Story November 21, 2014 at 10:35 am

        You mean the free services inside your head, the billions in free services that the racists at Faux News keeps telling you about. There I fixed it for you.

      • Uh Huh November 21, 2014 at 5:36 pm

        20 million illegals? Where did you read that? Did you perform some fuzzy math and multiply the actual 4.1 million by 5? Why didn’t Bush put a stop to those millions of illegals flooding into the country? Are you familiar with the Bush Amnesty Plan, circa 2004? http://www.foxnews.com/story/2004/01/08/bush-amnesty-plan-raises-immigration-concerns/

    • Amnesty 2004 November 21, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Look up Bush Amnesty Plan for Illegals in 2004.

    • Amnesty 1986 November 23, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 99-603 (Act of 11/6/86). Its major provisions stipulate legalization of undocumented aliens who had been continuously unlawfully present since 1982 and legalization of certain agricultural workers.

  • Visiting Anthropologist November 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    He did not break the law.

    • Real Life November 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      While I usually would agree with you VA, I disagree. He broke the law. And Obama looks very bad right now. He broke the law, and millions are being rewarded for breaking the law.

    • Big Guy November 21, 2014 at 7:48 am

      I suppose refusing to enforce the law on a grand scale isn’t technically breaking the law, even though the Constitution and his oath of office require him to “faithfully execute the law.” Then again, he has a precedent: he’s refused to enforce over 40 provisions of Obamacare, most because enforcement would be unworkable or unpopular (the mandate and employer coverage requirements). I support expanded immigration but oppose any president overturning the rule of law when he can’t get his (unpopular) policies implemented in Congress.

  • sagemoon November 21, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Well, Uncle Herbie, if you and your Republican buddies would have done something a long time ago, it wouldn’t have come to this. Shame on both the Republicans and Democrats for allowing this issue to come to this action. This is why I joined an alternate political party this year.

  • Karen November 21, 2014 at 9:57 am

    To those who listened to President Obama, he was pretty clear when he stated:

    “to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

    Pretty simple, but the current House and the future House will find this impossible as they have for 500 days since the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill. After the Senate passed their bill, President Obama stated he would be fine with a piecemeal approach but the House has failed to act on anything about immigration. The President had to act!

  • dancing infidel November 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

    This is what whining toddlers do….throw a tantrum. This idiot (Obama) is just mad that he lost control of the Senate and lost even more seats in the House. He is a cry baby. “Waa waa waa…..no one wants to play with me”. So he’ll play by himself. All he has proven is that being a “lame duck” president is his only card. As far as his legacy is concerned….well, he just took care of that himself. What a lawless loser.

    • Visiting Anthropologist November 21, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      And what, exactly, will your legacy be, Dancing Infidel? Listening to talk radio pundits and insulting the President are really not much to leave behind when you’re gone.

      • Richard C November 21, 2014 at 6:58 pm

        His legacy will be constantly whining on the STG News comment section. And being a miserable lout of which I have no doubt! 🙂

    • Zonkerb November 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Wow who took a poopoo in your sandbox.?

  • villager November 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Amazing individuals I see here. Some thinkers and some regurgitators.
    It’s just the game of politics, my friends.

  • Karan Channon November 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    I came here on a fiance visa 11 years ago with my sons from the UK, I have spent over $5,000 applying to get my sons green cards. my application gets denied repeatedly. I cannot afford the $1000 fee to apply and attorney fees, the USCIS is a joke, my boys just want to work and go to university. The only solution is to send them back to the UK and split up our family.

    I know this is a political site but I just wanted to say this problem is not just about illegal immigrants.

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