Orange County Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Loretta Sanchez reacted along partisan lines to President Barack Obama's announcement of a federal policy change preventing deportation of some illegal immigrants.
"The president has just sent a message to every potential illegal immigrant throughout the world that it's OK to bring their children to the United States and break American law,'' said Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach.
"This announcement is a slap in the face to all those who followed the law and waited in line and those who are still waiting to come to the U.S. legally. Their families are not going to be taken care of. It's the scofflaws who are being rewarded by this president.''
Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, called Obama's announcement as "bold and
"As a supporter of the Dream Act for years, this executive order will have a lasting impact on many young individuals throughout Orange County and our country,'' Sanchez said.
"As a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, I have always worked toward ensuring that ICE and DHS target individuals who pose a threat to our country and community. I am glad the president will continue to apply prosecutorial discretion during deportation proceedings,'' Sanchez said, referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Orange, did not have a comment about the policy change, aide Audra McGeorge said.
The policy is estimated to affect about 800,000 people across the country.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the policy will apply—on a case-by-case basis—to undocumented immigrants who:
came to the United States under age 16; are younger than 30; have continuously lived in the United States for at least five years; are enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate or are honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces; and have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors or pose a threat to national security.
Speaking at the White House, Obama said the change is aimed at people who were likely brought into the country by their parents, and in many cases did not know they were undocumented until they tried to apply for a job.
"Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people,'' he said.
Obama insisted the policy was not amnesty, immunity, a path to citizenship or a "permanent fix'' to the immigration system. He called it a "stop-gap measure'' that gives ``a degree of relief and hope to driven, patriotic young people.''
"It's the right thing to do,'' Obama said. Rohrabacher said Obama was motivated by politics.
"It's obvious this was a politically expedient decision and betrayal of American youth,'' Rohrabacher said. "Fewer jobs will be available to our citizens and legal immigrants and already limited resources and benefits for our own young people will be further taxed as a result of this back-door amnesty by the Obama administration.''
Sanchez said the change in policy will benefit the nation.
"So many young people are not able to graduate and live their lives because they have been in the shadows of our society with the fear of deportation always on their mind,'' Sanchez said. "This will now provide those students an opportunity to give back to the community and country they know so well. I look forward to continue working with the president and my colleagues here in Congress to push for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform.''
- City News Service