Posted on November 21, 2014
President Barack Obama's prime-time promise Thursday to not deport what will likely amount to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants garnered heavy criticism from Republican Congressmen, including those representing East Tennessee.
Key to that criticism is Obama's decision to bypass Congress to accomplish his goal.
"Our founders did not want a king and the American people don't want a president who acts like one," U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said in a statement. "Our immigration system is broken and our border is a mess.
"The president should be working with Congress to secure the border and create a system of legal immigration -- not disregarding the rule of law and the will of the American people," Alexander concluded.
Likewise, Alexander's junior counterpart, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, attacked Obama's decision to bypass Congress.
"The president is not acting in strength, he is acting in weakness," Corker said in a statement. "This decision makes it clear that the president doesn't have the ability and willingness to lead by rolling up his sleeves and doing the hard work to reach a consensus that is in the best interest of our country."
Corker continued, "The president is blatantly ignoring the rule of law and Congress' constitutional role, and I could not be more disappointed. Congress has to respond, but the response should be prudent and we should not lose sight of the fact that our job over the next two years is to enact policies that will make our nation stronger."
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, of Johnson City, said such executive action is a sign of Obama's unwillingness to work with what will soon be a Republican-controlled Congress.
"The president's unilateral action on immigration reform is outrageous," Roe said. "In October, the president rightly noted that he wasn't on the ballot, but his policies were, and the American people sent a clear message on Nov. 4 they wanted a different direction.
"Tonight's action makes clear that the president has no interest in working with Republicans in Congress to find common ground on any substantive issue, and instead intends to go it alone," Roe said.
"President Obama has clearly prioritized his political legacy over the will of the American people and effective governing. As I've said before, we can -- and should -- take steps to reform the immigration process, starting with fully securing the border," Roe concluded.
"But the president's attempt to rewrite immigration law from the Oval Office is the wrong solution, not to mention a smack in the face to every naturalized citizen that earned their legal right to live in this country."