Tonight, President Obama will announce a sweeping executive action that will change life for millions of immigrant families. While advocates are beginning to celebrate, opponents of immigration reform are beginning to lose it completely.
In an interview with USA Today, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) warned that Obama’s executive action could prompt “instances of anarchy…you could see violence.” He later doubled down by talking about “things going on in Ferguson” and how “we shouldn’t be doing anything right now to shake that worse.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) according to a tweet this morning, charged Obama with “plotting” and being “openly desirous to destroy the constitution,” while his colleague from Texas Sen. John Cornyn said that the president needs “remedial civics 101.” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) claimed that Obama is setting himself up as “judge and jury and executioner.” A letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) painted all immigrants as criminals, murderers, domestic abusers, and terrorists. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that executive action would lead to “constitutional crisis.“
The social cost will be profound on the U.S. taxpayer — millions of unskilled, illiterate, foreign nationals coming into the United States who can’t speak the English language. Even though the president says they won’t be able to vote, we all know that many, in all likelihood, will vote.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said that Obama is now “all-in against the Constitution.”
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said that Obama has triggered “the death of the Republic.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) went on the House floor yesterday to deliver a 30-minute screed against immigrants and executive action, at one point saying “we’ve seen statistics that indicate that less than 10% of people who come into this country illegally are actually working.”
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX): “I believe [Obama] is actually declaring war on the American people and our democracy” while Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) claimed that Josh Earnest “lied to the American people.”
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) introduced a bill that would bar immigrants recognized by President Obama’s announcement from legally working — which only sounds injurious to employers (who would still be at risk of fines for undocumented labor) and repressive for workers (who would be legally recognized, and not deportable, yet would be forced to work menial jobs).
At some point, you have to evaluate whether the president’s conduct aids or abets, encourages, or entices foreigners to unlawfully cross into the United States of America. That has a five-year in-jail penalty associated with it.
And, of course, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the leading anti-immigrant voice in the U.S. House, tweeted that “Obama has torn Article I from our Constitution and claimed it for himself” and said he “would not rule out” impeachment.
This is all, by the way, in addition to all the House Republicans who have talked about wanting to impeach Obama over his executive action, even though the president’s authority to use his administrative powers on immigration has been ratified by the Supreme Court and practiced by every single president since Eisenhower.
But hey, Republicans can continue to bluster. Plenty of commentators are already predicting what will happen when they do. Here’s Chris Cillizza today:
[Obama’s] expectation is that some of the louder elements within the GOP — Ted Cruz, he is looking at you! — won’t be able to resist calling for his impeachment and the like — the sort of thing that will take the spotlight off Obama and turn it onto a relatively small group of Republican elected officials who are not exactly the face the party wants to project to the broader public. The more angry talk comes from Republicans — particularly if that rhetoric slips from being 100 percent Obama-focused to including Hispanics — the better for Obama.
Tonight, Obama will take the first step toward bringing millions of immigrants out of the shadows. It really will not go over well for Republicans if their top priority is to shove these families back.