President Obama addressed the nation Thursday night to unveil his new immigration policy. He announced a plan to use executive action to use temporary immigration status to millions of illegal immigrants. Needless to say, the now fully Republican delegation – once Sen. Pryor is officially replaced in January – is not pleased.
On Wednesday, Senator-elect Tom Cotton addressed the upcoming speech in an email to supporters saying, “Tomorrow night, President Obama will address the nation on immigration reform and announce the steps he plans to take on his own without the approval of Congress. As a nation we must advocate for real immigration reform rather than executive amnesty, because if we don’t, Obama will put his own wishes ahead of our nation’s.”
Cotton’s soon to be senior Senate colleague Sen. John Boozman agreed.
“Arkansans should be upset as well as all Americans. This is clearly an overreach of the office. The President is called ‘Mr. President,’ not ‘Your Highness.’ He simply doesn’t have the authority to do this. Congress needs to take all the tools we have in the toolbox to really push back,” said Boozman.
“Tonight, President Obama fell backwards into a mess of his own making; not only putting bipartisanship in the 114th Congress at risk, but our system of checks and balances found in our Constitution,” said incoming Congressman-elect Bruce Westerman from the Fourth Congressional District. “During the last week, I participated in orientation with my fellow incoming freshmen. While there, I observed a true sense of camaraderie among colleagues from both parties, and a desire to work together to represent the hardworking taxpayers that elected us. It is sad that, on the day we return home to our districts, Mr. Obama has chosen to poison that bipartisan spirit by acting like an emperor, not a president.”
Congressman elect French Hill in central Arkansas agreed saying “I am disappointed in President Obama’s unwillingness to roll up his sleeves and work with the recently elected Congress. Instead of leading by example, the President is once again emphasizing division.”
The incumbent Cong. Tim Griffin – who is moving to the Lieutenant Governor’s office – added: “On multiple occasions, President Obama has stated that using executive action to implement immigration reform would be unconstitutional, and in 2013, the President said he is ‘not the emperor’ of the U.S. Yet, in true emperor fashion, the President issued a unilateral decision that circumvents the constitutional role of Congress and fails to present a long-term solution to our broken immigration system. This illegal action insults the majority of the American people who voted on November 4th to reject the President’s go-it-alone policies, which he also stated were ‘on the ballot.’ I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to prevent the President from implementing this unconstitutional and illegal action.”
“As a former professor of constitutional law, the president knows full well the role Congress plays as a co-equal branch of government,” added Congressman Rick Crawford from the First District. “It’s distressing to see him deliberately circumvent Congress to unilaterally act on such an important issue as immigration. In no way do I support any action that could grant amnesty to individuals who are in this country illegally. Going forward I hope the president will in good faith work with congress to first secure our nation through improved border security and to fix our broken immigration system.”
Check back for additional reaction from the Arkansas delegation as they issue statements.