From left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., pause during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014.
President Barack Obama announced a plan on Thursday that will protect five million undocumented immigrants from deportation, and top Republican lawmakers were outraged.
Many Republican legislators have decried Obama's plan for weeks now, saying that he is abusing his power as president by deciding to reform the immigration system without Congress.
We've rounded up some GOP reactions, below.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
McConnell has clearly warned Obama against the president's plan to alter the immigration system.
“If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act,” McConnell said on Thursday. "Make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.”
He added that, ‘‘The president will come to regret the chapter history writes if he does move forward."
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
Paul, who is expected to run for president in 2016, issued a statement on Thursday that was strongly against Obama's executive action plan, which he and others have termed "executive amnesty."
"President Obama is not above the law," the statement said. "His actions blatantly ignore the separations of powers and the principles our country was founded on. The President has said 22 times previously that he does not have the power to legislate on immigration," Paul said. "I believe that immigration reform is needed, however for true and effective reform, we must first secure the border. I will not sit idly by and let the President bypass Congress and our Constitution."
Speaker of the House John Boehner
Boehner went with a video message on Thursday, calling Obama out for not working with Congress to alter the immigration system.
“Instead of working together to fix our broken immigration system, the president says he’s acting on his own. That’s just not how our democracy works," Boehner said. "The president has said before that ‘he’s not king’ and he’s ‘not an emperor,’ but he’s sure acting like one."
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Cruz, another probable 2016 presidential candidate, took to Facebook moments after the president's speech ended.
"I have one question: Why is President Obama making it easier for immigrants to come to our nation illegally rather than legally?" Cruz said in the Facebook statement. "His actions are not only unconstitutional...but they are also unfair to every immigrant who has come to our nation legally."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Perry, yet another likely 2016 presidential candidate, has said that Texas might sue Obama over the president's immigration plan. He also sent out a spree of tweets during the president's speech.
Texas knows firsthand problems brought by illegal #immigration and bad federal policy. There is no more time for political grandstanding.— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) November 21, 2014
Arizona Sen. John McCain
Former Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who ran against Obama in 2008, also harped on prior comments made by the president in a statement released online on Thursday.
“As President Obama has previously said, he is not ‘a king’ or ‘the emperor of the United States,’ and he isn’t legally able to unilaterally change immigration law any way he sees fit," McCain said, according to the statement. "Congress has a responsibility to respond and push back on his illegal power grab."
This debate over what the president can and cannot legally do is sure to continue in the weeks to come.
Tags: Barack Obama, EXECUTIVE ACTION, IMMIGRATION REFORM, POLITICS, REPUBLICANS, U.S., UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS, US & World