AZ lawmakers sound off on program for undocumented immigrants - CBS 5 - KPHO

AZ lawmakers sound off on program for undocumented immigrants

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Arizona lawmakers are sounding off on a new Obama administration program that allows undocumented immigrants to qualify for work permits.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals defers deportations for young illegal immigrants if they meet certain criteria.

Gov. Jan Brewer released the following statement:

"Nearly one year ago, President Obama spoke against the idea of sidestepping Congress in order to impose immigration reform. 'That's not how our system works,' he said at the time. 'That's not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.'

"Well, now that the presidential election is less than five months away, the President has changed his tune. With his announcement today, the Obama administration bypassed Congress in order to unilaterally grant amnesty to nearly 1 million people living in this country illegally. This is an outrage.

"It doesn't take a cynic to recognize this action for what it is: blatant political pandering by a president desperate to shore up his political base. Likewise, it's no coincidence all of this comes on the eve of a long-awaited decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Arizona's ability to assist with the enforcement of immigration law via SB 1070. The American people are smarter than this.

"I've been clear that our nation's immigration system is as broken as our borders. Unfortunately, today's piecemeal pronouncement is a dangerous distraction from both problems. I urge the President to finish Job One: Securing the border. Then - and only then - should the President pursue a solution for our immigration system by working with our elected members of Congress."

Congressman David Schweikert, R-AZ, released this statement:

"Once again, the Campaigner-in-Chief has bypassed Congress, this time to move an election year backdoor amnesty plan.

"This thinly veiled political ploy is detrimental to Arizonans who are already struggling to find jobs and will now have to compete with illegal immigrants.

"While President Obama asks the Department of Homeland Security to 'look the other way,' I ask him to respect the rule of law, and get back to focusing on putting 23 million unemployed Americans back to work."

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, today released the following statement on President Obama's announcement on immigration:

"Immigration reform is an important and complex issue that deserves a debate among the American people and in Congress. Today's announcement by President Obama is a politically-motivated power grab that does nothing to further the debate but instead adds additional confusion and uncertainty to our broken immigration system. Further, I find it interesting that after promising to enact comprehensive reform in the first year of his Presidency, the President chose to make this announcement in the middle of his heated re-election campaign. Rather than unilaterally deciding for the American people what they want and how they believe this problem should be addressed, I encourage the President and his Administration to finally reach out to Congress and propose legislation on this important issue."

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton released the following statement on the President's decision:

"We need to support our young people, the people who are making the right choices, the future of our city. At a local level, we see these situations every day, especially with those who were brought here at a young age. It's heart breaking that good kids who grew up calling our cities home could be deported through no fault of their own. This is a step in the right direction by the administration"

Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-13, released the following statement in response to the announcement by President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano that the U.S. will stop deporting younger, law-abiding undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children.

"Today's announcement by the Obama administration sends the important message to responsible undocumented Latino youth that, since you were brought to America as a child you have become a productive and valued member of our society.

"This is an important step in the crucial journey toward achieving the DREAM Act's goals, but we aren't there yet. Undocumented youth who graduate at the top of their high school class - some of our best and brightest - are still denied a college education. Congress must rise above the partisan divide and work together to pass the DREAM Act. It is critical we ensure these promising community members have the opportunities to achieve their full potential. It's an investment guaranteed to benefit America."

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released this statement:

"Spurred by the failure of Congress to enact the DREAM Act or comprehensive immigration reform, this directive reaffirms our country's core belief of being the land of opportunity.

"Those who are affected by this directive represent some of the best and brightest children in our schools and young men and women who have served our country in uniform. Comprehensive immigration reform is still needed; however, this is a positive step forward while Congress continues to ignore the problem."

House Minority Whip Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson, said the following:

"This is a sensible policy. We should support the young people in our state who are doing the right things and contributing to the betterment of our communities. The new policy will affect young people who were brought to the United States when they were children and meet several key criteria including being in school or being an honorably discharged veteran. It is a reasonable and rational policy reform that will allow young people with promising futures, who are committed to their education and to serving the country, to continue to pursue their dreams in our great nation. This is progress but there is still much work to be done."

Rep. Catherine Miranda, D-Phoenix, said:

"I support this policy reform because it helps young people who were brought into our country as children, grew up here and exhibit an understanding of the importance of education and service. They have invested in their futures and in their communities. Reform like this also is an investment in the future but it is only a start. The broader solution will require us to set aside the partisan bickering and develop long-term solutions to this pressing matter."

U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, D-AZ, released the following statement:

"I commend the Obama Administration's decision to grant relief to undocumented young people who are already positively contributing to our communities and country. These individuals have been raised and educated in the United States, and are talented, driven young people who have much to offer and should not be punished for the actions of others. Due largely to opposition to related legislation, such as the DREAM Act, the Obama Administration's announcement serves as a positive step forward, allowing these young people to continue to contribute and give back to the country they call home. This is an encouraging move and it gives me hope that we can now work in a bipartisan manner towards a permanent solution, such as comprehensive immigration reform."

Congressman Ben Quayle released the following statement after Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the changes:

"While the Obama Administration has failed to secure the southern border, our Propagandist-in-Chief has announced his cynical election year backdoor-amnesty program. The incompetence of this administration in dealing with our porous southern border is evidenced by the latest U.S. Customs and Border Patrol memo, which outlines a policy of catching, and releasing illegal immigrants that the administration arbitrarily deems 'low priority.' This comes as Northern Mexico is in chaos, the upcoming Mexican Presidential election could dramatically alter our security arrangements with Mexico and the flow of drugs continues unabated. The American people have stated time and again that they want a secure southern border first and foremost. It's time for the President to listen to them and secure our border. No more gun-walking; no more selective enforcement; no more sideshows. Just secure the border. The President needs to make decisions based on what is best for the country, not what is best for his campaign."

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