Boehner: Immigration executive order 'damages the presidency itself'

Boehner says he speaks for "the people's Congress," while Pelosi's office says Boehner is pandering to "most radical and irresponsible anti-immigrant voices of his party."
By Matt Bradwell and Gabrielle Levy  |  Nov. 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Republican House Speaker John Boehner offered harsh words for President Barack Obama on Friday, vowing Congress would fight Obama's executive order protecting 5 million immigrants from deportation.

"With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek," Boehner told reporters, adding, "As I told the president yesterday, he's damaging the presidency itself."

"In the days ahead, the people's House will rise to this challenge. We will not stand idle as the president undermines the rule of law in our country and places lives at risk. We will listen to the American people, we will work with our members, and we will work to protect the constitution of the United States."

Boehner was not alone in his criticism, with members of the Senate accusing the president of acting dictatorially.

"When, President Obama, do you mean to cease abusing our patience?" posed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, quoting Cicero.

"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."

A number of Republicans have used similar comparisons in the past week, since the administration announced its plan to issue the executive order. Conservative voters have been likening Obama to a dictator for most of his presidency, but only in recent days has that rhetoric made it into the statements of elected officials.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, piled on in an op-ed published Thursday in USA Today.

"Apparently, America now has its first emperor," Sessions wrote.

"And he has issued an imperial order to dissolve America's borders... The great task before the nation now is to resist this imperial decree and return control of this nation to its own citizens -- as our Constitution established."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had her own criticisms for GOP opposition, describing them as controlled by extremists and devoted to obstruction.

"Speaker Boehner has led some of the most obstructive, unproductive and self-destructive Congresses in the history of our nation," countered a spokesman for Pelosi.

"Today, in the face of real leadership from the president, Speaker Boehner announced he will continue to surrender his gavel to the most radical and irresponsible anti-immigrant voices of his party ... President Obama has announced strong actions to restore accountability to our broken immigration system. Republicans continue to scramble for excuses for their own failure of leadership."

Obama will fly to Nevada on Friday to formally sign the executive order at the same Las Vegas high school where he announced his plan to fix the nation's broken immigration system in 2012.

On Friday afternoon, Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Shapiro filed a lawsuit against Obama, calling the executive action unconstitutional and claiming it hinders his ability to police the border.

"This unconstitutional act by the president will have a serious detrimental impact on my carrying out the duties and responsibilities for which I am encharged as sheriff. Specifically, it will severely strain our resources, both in manpower and financially, necessary to protect the citizens I was elected to serve. For instance, among the many negative affects of this executive order, will be the increased release of criminal aliens back onto streets of Maricopa County, Arizona, and the rest of the nation.

I am not seeking to myself enforce the immigration laws, as this is the province of the federal government. Rather, I am seeking to have the president and the other defendants obey the U.S. Constitution, which prevents this executive order from having been issued in the first place. This unconstitutional act must be enjoined by a court of law on behalf of not just myself, but all of the American people."

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