In advance of tonight’s immigration speech, a pair of Democratic senators who are staying for the 114th Congress came out against the executive action being used by President Obama.
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said in a statement that “it is clear the immigration system in this country is broken, and only Congress has the ability to change the law to fix it.”
“The Senate passed bipartisan immigration reform last summer with my support, though we are still waiting on the House to debate this issue,” Donnelly said. “I am as frustrated as anyone that Congress is not doing its job, but the president shouldn’t make such significant policy changes on his own.”
A few hours later, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) issued his own statement: “I disagree with the president’s decision to use executive action to make changes to our immigration system, and I disagree with the House’s decision to not even take a vote on the bipartisan Senate legislation that overwhelmingly passed in June 2013.”
“The American people made it clear on election night that they want government to work better for them and to solve real problems that impact their lives. We have the chance to show them that we heard their message and are willing to act,” Manchin said. “We will only achieve sustainable, comprehensive immigration reform if all sides work together.”
“For that to happen, Congress must work with the president to debate the issues and vote to secure our borders, create a tough legalization process, and ensure employers don’t hire illegal immigrants. We successfully passed a bipartisan bill on the Senate side, and all we’re asking is that the House takes a vote as well.”
As quoted by Politico, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) stressed “it’s Congress’ job to pass legislation and deal with issues of this magnitude.”
“I’m disappointed the president decided to use executive action at this time on this issue, as it could poison any hope of compromise or bipartisanship in the new Senate before it has even started,” Heitkamp said.