GOP: We'll Fight 'Defiant' Obama on Immigration
Dems praise 'step in the right direction'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2014 5:49 AM CST
Updated Nov 21, 2014 7:57 AM CST
Plaza Mexico vendors in Los Angeles watch President Obama's speech on his executive action on immigration last night.   (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Ricardo DeAratanha)
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(Newser) – President Obama unveiled sweeping actions on immigration reform last night, and while the civil unrest Sen. Tom Coburn warned of hasn't materialized, it's safe to say congressional Republicans are deeply unhappy. Obama criticized Republicans for failing to act and dared them to "pass a bill," but the forceful actions GOP congressional leaders have promised in response are not expected to include immigration reform. More:

  • Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised a tough response when the GOP majority takes office next year, but he didn't spell out any specific actions, Politico reports. Obama needs to understand that if he "acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act," McConnell says. "We're considering a variety of options. But make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act." Possible actions include a lawsuit against the White House or choking off funding to federal agencies.

  • House Speaker John Boehner was among many Republicans who warned that Obama's order will make it tougher to reach compromise on other reforms. "By ignoring the will of the American people, President Obama has cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left," Boehner said in a statement. "His 'my way or the highway' approach makes it harder to build the trust with the American people that is necessary to get things done on behalf of the country."
  • The immigration order not only sets the GOP against Obama, it raises the prospect of yet more intra-GOP conflict, with some conservatives demanding a government shutdown, reports the Washington Post. "The president wants to see an angry and intemperate response, thinking the Republicans will do something that leads to a shutdown," says Rep. Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania. "Don't take the bait, and don't have a hysterical reaction. We can be strong, rational, and measured."
  • Democrats were broadly in support of the move to defer deportation for millions, but many called it just the first step in a process that should be completed by Congress, the Hill reports. The move is "a bold step in the right direction" but "not a permanent solution," says Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez, the new head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
  • Among those affected by the move, there is some joy and relief, but some feel it didn't go far enough and hope for a longer-term solution, the AP finds. "This will definitely help our family no longer live in fear, fear that we will have to drop everything if our parents are deported," says a 20-year-old woman in Portland whose parents lack legal status. "But there is still fear, because this is ... temporary, and we need something permanent."