Reactions to President Obama's
Executive Actions on Immigration
November 20, 2014

Supporters | Opponents

DNC Press
November 20, 2014

 DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on President Obama’s Immigration Action

Washington, DC – In response to President Barack Obama’s immigration announcement, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“I'm proud President Obama has taken bold, definitive action to enact meaningful change for so many families living in fear of being torn apart, an action which will also serve to boost our economy. This is a real step towards protecting families and our national security while optimizing our resources and improving as much of the immigration system as he legally can while Republicans in Congress refuse to act.
“The American people are sick and tired of the GOP's stall and scare tactics. While men, women and children who have already sacrificed so much for a better life waited anxiously, Republicans in Congress sat back and refused to act.
“This is not a political issue, it's a human issue. President Obama knows that so many undocumented people living in the United States simply can't wait any longer for the protections they deserve. Instead of threatening to shut down the government and impeach the President -- Republicans in Congress should immediately rise to the occasion and act to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton
November 20, 2014 statement

I support the President’s decision to begin fixing our broken immigration system and focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families. I was hopeful that the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in 2013 would spur the House of Representatives to act, but they refused even to advance an alternative. Their abdication of responsibility paved the way for this executive action, which follows established precedent from Presidents of both parties going back many decades. But, only Congress can finish the job by passing permanent bipartisan reform that keeps families together, treats everyone with dignity and compassion, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation’s prosperity. Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we’re not discussing abstract statistics – we’re talking about real families with real experiences. We’re talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children.

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton  ·  Nov 20
Thanks to POTUS for taking action on immigration in the face of inaction. Now let’s turn to permanent bipartisan reform.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Statement on Immigration Reform and Network Blackout

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today on President Barack Obama’s executive order to defer deportation for millions of immigrants in the United States. He also commented on the major television networks’ refusal to broadcast the president’s prime-time speech:
“I’m a strong supporter of immigration reform and of the need to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. I support President Obama’s action to help working families stay together. I think everyone agrees that the current immigration system is broken. More than a year ago, I voted for an immigration reform bill that the Senate passed but House Republicans have refused to even consider. They have left the president with little choice but to act on his own.
“I should add that I am extremely disappointed that the four major broadcast television networks have said they will not broadcast the president’s speech tonight. People can be for immigration reform or against it, but clearly we need an intelligent, informed debate. Unless the networks change their plans, they will be doing a disservice to the American people and failing in their obligation to serve the public good.”  
Contact: Michael Briggs

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)
November 20, 2014


“President Obama is using his pen to help the country and we celebrate his courage.”

Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) will join President Obama on his trip to Nevada on Friday as the President announces a series of executive actions he is taking on immigration, enforcement and deportations.  The Congressman was briefed by the President and his staff last night and by Secretary Jeh Johnson today on the scope of the actions the President will take.

“President Obama is using his pen to help the country and we celebrate his courage,” Rep. Gutierrez said.  “I am going sign up the families that are covered, keep fighting for the families that are not covered, and we are going to make the City of Chicago a model for the rest of the country.  We all must recognize that no executive action is a substitute for legislation, so the fundamental challenge of getting legislation through the Republican-controlled House remains the same.”

Congressman Gutiérrez is working with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (, and leaders from across the City of Chicago to begin preparations for implementing what the President announces tonight.  Rep. Gutiérrez and Mayor Emanuel will join ICIRR and hundreds of Chicagoans at Benito Juarez High School in Chicago on Saturday, November 22 at 9:30 a.m. CT. to celebrate the President’s announcement and to help launch the Illinois Is Ready campaign ( 

The Congressman also recorded two video messages (ENGLISH: and SPANISH: for his supporters about the President’s announcement encouraging people to celebrate this momentous occasion and to gather information about what the President is announcing so that they can make informed decisions about whether this series of policy adjustments will apply to them and their families.  The videos are posted on the Congressman’s Facebook (, YouTube channel (, and on his website (

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez represents the Fourth District of Illinois, is a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and is the Chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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America's Voice
Released on 11/20/2014 at 8:11pm


With the details of the president’s immigration executive action now public, Frank Sharry of America’s Voice shares his reflections:

This is the biggest victory for immigrants and their allies in the past 25 years.  We rejoice with the millions who can come forward, get a work permit and live without fear.

Giving some 5 million immigrants a chance to work legally and live in dignity, combined with the end of the misnamed Secure Communities program, is a significant step towards bringing our dysfunctional immigration system into balance after years of ramped up deportations, out-of-control enforcement and millions of families being ripped apart.

With this historic move President Obama will help to make long overdue improvements to our nation’s immigration system and better the lives of immigrants and the communities in which they live.  Executive action is no substitute for the permanent legislative overhaul we still need, but finally someone is doing something to take action.  We congratulate the President for stepping up and leaning in.

We recognize that we have a fight ahead of us.  We know the Republicans are bent on stopping the President’s policies before they are implemented.  But we will challenge them at every turn and pull back the veil on their process objections to expose the truth: 1) they have no policy alternative other than deportation; and 2) if they let the nativists define and direct their party’s response, they will be permanently branded as a party hostile to Latinos, Asian-Americans and other immigrants.  We pray for a change of heart, but if that is not forthcoming, we will work for a change of Congress.

As for Democrats, to date we have been encouraged that most Democrats are defending this executive action with full-throated support against the howls of Republican opposition.  We expect all Democrats to follow suit.

Finally, we salute the brave immigrants and immigrant advocates who have worked so hard to bring about today.  This is a tremendous victory for our movement and shows that we will not be denied.  This matters because we are far from done.  We will keep fighting until all 11 million undocumented immigrants in America live freely and are treated fairly.


Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
November 20, 2014

McConnell: ‘Congress Will Act’ if President Issues Immigration Order

‘The action he’s proposed would ignore the law, would reject the voice of the voters, and would impose new unfairness on law-abiding immigrants — all without solving the problem. In fact, his action is more likely to make it even worse.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement regarding the President’s proposed executive action on immigration:

“I’d like to say a few words this morning about President Obama’s proposed executive action on immigration.

“And I’ll begin with a quote from the President. ‘Democracy is hard,’ he said during a commencement speech in Miami three years ago. “But it’s right. [And] changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one.”

“As someone who well understands just how difficult the work of changing minds and votes can be, I couldn’t agree more with the President’s statement.”

“Americans accept that democracy’s blessings are only made possible by the constraints it imposes — both its legal contours and those imposed by popular election. We accept democracy’s messiness. We accept that we may not always get all of what we want exactly when we want it. And based on more of what the President said in Miami, this is something he seemed to understand too.”

“He was talking about immigration that day, and here’s something else he said on the topic. ‘I know [that] some… wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how democracy works.’

“Indeed, it isn’t.

“All of which makes the President’s planned executive action on immigration even more jarring.

“If the President truly follows through on this attempt to impose his will unilaterally, he will have issued a rebuke to his own stated view of democracy. And he will have contradicted his past statements on this very issue.

“The instances of President Obama saying that he does not have the power to do the kinds of things he now plans to do are almost too numerous to list. He tried to suggest otherwise last weekend. But a prominent fact-checker panned the spin as ‘Pinocchio-laden’ and clarified that the President has been asked ‘specifically…[about] the sorts of actions that he is contemplating now.’ The President’s previous answers seemed to be unequivocal: he lacked the legal authority to act.

“As just one example, President Obama said last year that executive action was ‘not an option’ because ‘[he] would be ignoring the law.’ ‘There is a path to get this done,’ he said, ‘and that is through Congress.’

“He’s right. The action he’s proposed would ignore the law, would reject the voice of the voters, and would impose new unfairness on law-abiding immigrants — all without solving the problem. In fact, his action is more likely to make it even worse.

“We’ve already seen the consequences of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, his most recent action in this area. It was a factor in encouraging young people to risk their lives on a perilous journey some would never complete.

“The effects of this action could be just as tragic.

“Just as the ‘Affordable Care Act’ had little to do with making health care more affordable, slapping the term “immigration reform” on something doesn’t mean it’s actually immigration reform.

“And just as with Obamacare, the action the President is proposing isn’t about solutions.

“It isn’t about compassion.

“It seems to be about what a political party thinks would make for good politics.

“It seems to be about what a President thinks would be good for his legacy.

“Those are not the motivations that should be driving such sweeping action. And I think the President will come to regret the chapter history writes if he does move forward.

“Because the plan he’s presenting is more than just, as the President himself has acknowledged, an overreach — it’s also unfair.

“What does the President have to say to the countless aspiring immigrants who’ve spent years waiting patiently in line? To the people who’ve played by all the rules?

“Where is his compassion for them?

“What does the President have to say to the millions of Americans who still can’t find work in this economy? The President can’t reach across the aisle to secure a serious jobs plan for them, but he’s willing to put everything he’s got into this one executive action?

“Where is the justice in that?

“There is a larger point here too.

“Some people seem to have forgotten this already, but we just had an election.

“Before that election, the President told us about his plan to act unilaterally on immigration.

“He reminded us that his policies were on the ballot.

“And then the people spoke.

“The President doesn’t have to like the result, but he has a duty to respect it.

“The American people sent a message. They said they want to see us working together. They said they want to see more serious ideas pass through Congress.

“What they didn’t say they wanted to see was the President sidestepping the very representatives they just elected.

“That’s why so many Kentuckians have been calling my office in opposition to this plan. I know phones have continued to ring off the hook all week in other offices across Capitol Hill.

“Our constituents want to be heard. President Obama needs to listen to their voices.

“If nothing else, perhaps the President will at least consider the views of the Democrat Senators and Members of Congress who’ve urged him not to do this. These Democrats understand the consequences of a President from a different political party citing this precedent in the future.

“Either way, he needs to understand something.

“If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act.

“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.

“Look: As the President has said, democracy is hard.

“Imposing his will unilaterally may seem tempting. It may serve him politically in the short term. But he knows that it will make an already-broken system even more broken.

“And he knows that this is not how democracy is supposed to work. Because he told us so himself.”

Speaker John Boehner
November 20, 2014

Speaker Boehner to President Obama: This is Not How American Democracy Works

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement today regarding President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration:

“The American people want both parties to focus on solving problems together; they don’t support unilateral action from a president who is more interested in partisan politics than working with the people’s elected representatives. That is not how American democracy works. Not long ago, President Obama said the unilateral action he just announced was ‘not an option’ and claimed he’d already ‘done everything that I can on my own.’ He said it would lead to a ‘surge in more illegal immigration.’ He said he was ‘not a king’ and ‘not the emperor’ and that he was ‘bound by the Constitution.’  He said an action like this would exceed his authority and be ‘difficult to justify legally.’ He may have changed his position, but that doesn’t change the Constitution.

“By ignoring the will of the American people, President Obama has cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left.  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. Republicans are left with the serious responsibility of upholding our oath of office. We will not shrink from this duty, because our allegiance lies with the American people.  We will listen to them, work with our members, and protect the Constitution.”

NOTE: Before he changed his position, President Obama said at least 22 times that he could not make his own law without Congress, ignore current laws, or expand his 2012 executive action. He said doing so “would be both unwise and unfair” and “could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration.” According to several surveys, a majority of Americans oppose his unilateral action. The administration has also gone to great lengths to hide the truth about its immigration policies from the American people.

- See more at:

Former Gov. Jeb Bush
November 20, 2014 at 6:36pm

STATEMENT: Governor Jeb Bush on President Obama’s Announcement on Taking Executive Action on Immigration

President Obama's ill-advised unilateral action on illegal immigration undermines all efforts to forge a permanent solution to this crisis. Action must come in the form of bipartisan comprehensive reform passed through Congress. President Obama has once again put divisive and manipulative politics before the sober leadership and sound laws required of an exceptional nation. It is time for Republican leaders in Congress to act. We must demonstrate to Americans we are the Party that will tackle serious challenges and build broad-based consensus to achieve meaningful reforms for our citizens and our future.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
facebook posting

Moments ago, President Obama announced he would unilaterally grant amnesty to millions of people who have come to our country illegally.

I have one question: Why is President Obama making it easier for immigrants to come to our nation illegally rather than legally?

His actions are not only unconstitutional and in defiance of the American people who said they did not want amnesty in the 2014 elections, but they are also unfair to every immigrant who has come to our nation legally.

We are all the sons and daughters of immigrants who dreamed of opportunity in a nation where if you worked hard and played by the rules, you could achieve anything.

We can’t let one President abandon that dream for us all.

ICYMI: Sen. Cruz Invokes Cicero’s Words Against President Obama’s Lawlessness

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today spoke on the Senate floor harkening back to Cicero’s famous warning to the citizens of Rome. Over 2,000 years later, the words are powerfully relevant to our current President’s lawlessness.
“When, President Obama, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now,” Sen. Cruz asked. “Do not the nightly guards placed on the Border—do not the watches posted throughout the city—does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men—does not the precaution taken of assembling the Senate in this most defensible place—do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you? Do you not feel that your plans are detected?”
He continued, “Shame on the age and on its principles! The senate is aware of these things; the Senate sees them; and yet this man dictates by his pen and phone. Dictates! aye, he won’t even come into the senate.”
“What? shall we, who are the Senate, tolerate President Obama, openly desirous to destroy the Constitution and this Republic? For I pass over older instances, such as how the IRS plotted to silence American citizens. There was—there was once such virtue in this republic, that brave men and women would repress mischievous citizens with severer chastisement than the most bitter enemy. For we have a resolution of the senate, a formidable and authoritative decree against you, President Obama; the wisdom of the republic is not at fault, nor the dignity of this senatorial body. We, we alone,—I say it openly, —we, the Senates, are waiting in our duty to stop this lawless Administration and its Amnesty.”


Former Gov. Mike Huckabee
November 20, 2014 facebook positng

I just returned from a trip to England where I was reminded of why Americans fled the tyranny of King George, now Americans are subjected to the tyrannical actions of "Emperor Obama' with his wholly unconstitutional Executive Action on Immigration. Our Founding Fathers created a system of government with checks and balances and the president's repeated actions bypassing Congress are an insult to the American people.

As a former Governor, I understand that complex legislation requires working with both Democrats and Republicans, listening to all sides, compromising when possible, and ultimately executing the will of the consent of the governed. President Obama has never learned that valuable lesson in leadership. He is wading off into dangerous waters by acting alone yet again on something as important as immigration.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
November 20, 2014

Sen. Paul Issues Statement on the President’s Abuse of Executive Amnesty

Sen. Rand Paul today issued the following statement in response to President Obama's decision to implement immigration reform through the use of executive action.
"President Obama is not above the law and has no right to issue Executive Amnesty. His actions blatantly ignore the Separations of Powers and the principles our country was founded on. The President has said 22 times previously that he does not have the power to legislate on immigration," Sen. Paul said. "I believe that immigration reform is needed, however for true and effective reform, we must first secure the border. I will not sit idly by and let the President bypass Congress and our Constitution." 
Additionally, Sen. Paul appeared last night on the Fox News Channel's On The Record with Greta Van Susteren to discuss President Obama's actions on immigration reform. A clip of the interview can be found HERE or below.

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)
November 20, 2014

Statement by Gov. Perry on Executive Action by President Obama

Gov. Rick Perry today released the following statement regarding President Obama's announcement of executive action on illegal immigration:

"In Texas we know firsthand the problems brought by illegal immigration and bad federal policy. As we saw with the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who came across the border, a bad policy led to children being put at risk. The president's decision tonight will lead to more illegal immigration, not less. It is time for the president and Congress to secure our border, followed by meaningful reforms. There is no more time for political grandstanding."
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
November 20, 2014

Portman Statement on President Obama's Executive Action on Immigration

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today released the following statement ahead of President Obama’s announcement of his executive action regarding immigration:

“By acting alone on immigration, the President isn’t just going around Congress, he’s going around the American people. If the President truly wants to fix our broken immigration system, he should work with the newly-elected Congress – both Democrats and Republicans – on real reform including improved internal enforcement measures and securing our border. Not only is the President’s approach of going at it alone misguided, I also believe the President was right in the past when he said he did not have the authority to do this. To me, going around the law is in violation of his oath to faithfully execute the law. I’m disappointed that he didn’t even try to work with the new Congress on such a sweeping measure.”


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
For Immediate Release
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Contacts: Alex Conant/Brooke Sammon


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s executive orders on immigration:
“We need immigration reform. But the right way to do it is to first bring illegal immigration under control by securing the borders and enforcing the laws, then modernizing our legal immigration system. After we do these things, we will eventually have to deal with those here illegally in a reasonable but responsible way. The President’s actions now make all of this harder and are unfair to people in our immigration system who are doing things the right way.”
In an August letter to the President, Rubio highlighted the adverse impact unilateral action will have on any progress toward real reform, and laid out the steps necessary to achieve immigration reform.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum
For Immediate Release
November 20, 2014
Contact: Virginia Davis

Rick Santorum Responds to President Obama's Immigration Edict

VERONA, PA - Former presidential candidate, former U.S. Senator, and Chairman of Patriot Voices issued the following statement in response to President Obama's executive action to provide amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants.
Rick Santorum said: "Tonight's announcement by the President is just another in a long line of power-grabs by this Administration.  Despite saying as recently as one year ago that he was not the 'emperor' of the United States, this President simply does not believe that the Executive is a co-equal branch of government.  Time after time, President Obama has ignored the rule of law, ignored the balance of power between each branch of government, and ignored the will of the American people.  Today's executive order is a slap in the face of the democratic process and every voter who came out in this past November's election."
"We need an immigration policy that first and foremost stands for the best interest of America and the American worker.  President Obama's executive order providing amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is the antithesis of this goal.  At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to find work and coping with stagnant wages, the President has decided to allow an additional 5 million individuals to legally compete with the existing American labor pool - diluting wages and opportunities for American workers further.  This decision flies in the face of basic principles of supply-and-demand and any interest in the welfare of the American worker," Santorum continued.
"I urge Speaker Boehner and incoming Majority Leader McConnell to use any means available to stop this unconstitutional attack on our liberty.  President Obama's executive overreach must be stopped - not just for the interest of the American worker, but for the interest of our country's future," concluded Santorum.

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)
Nov 21, 2014

Governor Jindal: Immigration Executive Order Shows President Is Ignoring American People

BATON ROUGE — Today, Governor Jindal issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s Executive Order to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Governor Jindal said, "The President is lecturing us and not listening to us. He’s bypassing Congress, and ignoring the American people. Unilaterally granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants does nothing to solve our immigration problem, it only makes it worse. Our border is not secure. If we want to solve our immigration problem, job one is to secure the border. Fed Ex can track every package it ships, surely America can figure out who is crossing our borders. I saw the crisis first hand over the summer — I went to the border. I saw folks illegally crossing it. We must secure the border.
“Granting amnesty by executive order is wrong. It will incentivize more of this illegal immigration. If the President wants to make the case that the law should be changed, he should go make the case to Congress and our people. This is an arrogant, cynical political move by the President, and it’s why so many Americans no longer trust this President to solve the problems we face.”