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Impending executive order on immigration incites political tension


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SALT LAKE CITY — A political battle is stirring this week in Washington over immigration reform.

National reports indicate that President Barack Obama is planning to sign an executive order on illegal immigration as early as next week, allowing up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation.

The order includes legalizing the parents of children who are American citizens and those with high tech skills — all by executive order, without the okay of the new congress, according to NBC Nightly News.

If Obama intends to move forward with an executive order, Republicans will muster whatever they can to undermine it.

However, immigration reform advocates remain unmoved by the opposition that faces them in Washington. Similar stalwart sentiments are also shared by immigration reform advocates in Utah.

University of Utah professor Teresa Martinez has been outspoken on immigration reform for years.

“To be honest, I think it's about time,” Martinez said.

Senate Majority Leader Elect Mitch McConnell though disagrees with Obama's usage of the executive order.

“And we'd like for the president to recognize the reality that he has the government that he has, not the one that he wishes he had,” McConnell said in a press conference.

But in a letter sent to the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee — signed by 63 members of the House of Representatives, including Utah’s own Congressman Rob Bishop — members urged budget leaders not to fund the programs which Obama might include in his executive order.


And we'd like for the president to recognize the reality that he has the government that he has, not the one that he wishes he had.

–Senate Majority Leader Elect Mitch McConnell


The letter, sent out by Representative Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., essentially aims to undercut the executive order.

“The president cannot enact meaningful change in immigration reform because of the complexity of the issue and because of how the constitution delegates so much of what's at stake here,” said Kirk Jowers, Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

But for those eager for reform to finally happen, what's at stake is the whole point.

“We're talking about children who want an education and families who simply want a fair break. So frankly, they're going to look like the Grinch, the Scrooge of the holiday season — they're going to look pretty bad,” Martinez said.

Once again, as witnessed during the passage of the the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s method in dealing with immigration reform has become unpopular with the GOP. In that during both legislative processes, Republicans, in particular, are frustrated regarding every aspect of Obama's governing methodology.

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Sara Jarman

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