Obama’s immigration announcement draws praise and bitter criticism

President Obama’s announcement that he would take executive action to allow up to 5 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally to stay and work drew quick reaction across the political spectrum Thursday. Here’s a sampling:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):

“I applaud President Obama for stepping up and taking bold and constitutional action to bring people out of the shadows, thereby strengthening our economy and keeping families from being torn apart. These steps will increase border security and hold people accountable by requiring them to undergo background checks and pay taxes.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), on Twitter:


“I support the president’s executive action and will keep pushing for a permanent solution in Congress.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the incoming majority leader:

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

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the outgoing majority leader, on Twitter:

“President is exactly right. Immigrants ... deserve to [be] welcomed in the only country they’ve called home.”

House Speaker John Boehner, on Twitter:

“The president has said before that ‘he’s not a king’ & he’s ‘not an emperor,’ but he sure is acting like one.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown, on Twitter:

“Tonight, in the face of Washington gridlock, the president stepped up for hard-working families across America.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.):

“Immigration is an issue that must be debated and decided by the representatives of the people, not by executive fiat. I had hoped that President Obama would wait for the new Congress to engage on this issue next year ... but it is now clear that he is more interested in using it to the Democrats’ political advantage in 2016 than he is in working in a bipartisan manner to address this pressing national challenge once and for all.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), on Twitter:

“I support @barackobama’s decision on #ImmigrationAction. If House Republicans won’t do their jobs, it’s time for the president to do his.”

Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott, a Republican and the governor-elect:

“President Obama has circumvented Congress and deliberately bypassed the will of the American people, eroding the very foundation of our nation’s Constitution and bestowing a legacy of lawlessness. Texans have witnessed firsthand the costs and consequences caused by [his] dictatorial immigration policy. ... I am prepared to immediately challenge President Obama in court, securing our state’s sovereignty and guaranteeing the rule of law as it was intended under the Constitution.”


Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said Obama’s directive had “the potential to benefit a significant number of Mexicans in [the U.S.] and to improve their opportunities, as well as their dignity and certainty.”

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors:

“We applaud the president’s actions today, which ... will ensure that millions of undocumented immigrants who want to play by the rules and pay taxes are protected from deportation and made eligible to work. These actions will not only stabilize families and communities, they will strengthen the American economy and our national security.”