President Obama delivered an impressive performance at the immigration town hall at FIU. The president shredded Republicans for opposing immigration reform while promising to veto any bill that overturns his immigration executive actions.
The president made it clear that House Republicans are responsible for blocking immigration reform and promised to veto Mitch McConnell’s Senate bill to overturn his immigration executive actions.
The president said:
And for over six years, now, I’ve been calling on the Republicans to work with us to pass a comprehensive fix that would strengthen our borders, that would make sure that businesses have the workforce that they needed, aboveboard, not paying them under the table, not depriving them of things like overtime or workers’ rights, and that we provided a pathway for people to earn their way into a legal status and ultimately citizenship.
And to their credit, members of the Senate passed a bipartisan bill, overwhelmingly. But the House Republicans blocked it. They refused to even allow it to get on the floor for a vote. What I did, then, was to say I’m going to use all of the authority that I have as the chief executive of the United States, as well as Commander-in-Chief, to try to make sure that we are prioritizing our immigration system a lot smarter than we’ve been doing. And what that means is, is that instead of focusing on families, we’re going to focus on felons. We’re going to strengthen our borders, which is what people are concerned about.
So in the short term, if Mr. McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have a vote on whether what I’m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote. I will veto that vote, because I’m absolutely confident that what we’re doing is the right thing to do. And in the meantime, we’re going to continue to pursue all legal avenues to make sure that we have a country in which we are respecting not only the law, because we’re a nation of laws, but we’re also respecting the fact that we’re a nation of immigrants.
Obama repeatedly reminded viewers that House Republicans had a chance to pass immigration reform, but they refused to do it. If Republicans had passed the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, the president’s executive actions would not have never happened.
The idea that Republicans would support immigration reform, but now won’t because of the president’s executive actions is completely absurd. The one lesson from the immigration town hall is that Democrats have a giant advantage with Latino voters because of their position on immigration. The president is pressing his advantage as Republicans can’t stop digging themselves deeper into the hole that they have created by refusing to support comprehensive immigration reform.