Immigration debate heats up in Washington

WASHINGTON – This week, President Obama is on a national tour, touting his new plan on immigration. But he isn’t the only one talking about it; the plan is getting mixed reactions from lawmakers in Congress.

Last month, Obama unveiled a plan to shield law-abiding immigrants from deportation, protect immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, and increase security at the border.

“He did the right thing,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). “Many will debate the timing of it, but he made the determination to act when he did. He did the right thing.”

The President is getting a lot of support from democrats in Congress, many saying he did what had to be done.

“The president’s got to move and protect the public interest and make sure that this very broken system at least is partially fixed,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

And Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) agrees.

“He took the action that he can take to help make this broken immigration system work better,” he said.

But many House republicans aren’t happy. They say Obama overreached, and they disagree with the plan he laid out.

“It’s just not the right way to go about solving this problem,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY). “His proposal won’t solve the problem. It’s a temporary situation. And I tell you, it’s just not right.”

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree immigration reform is necessary, but some say it should be up to Congress – not the president – to come up with a solution.

“He chooses to make Congress irrelevant,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA). “And I think he’s going down a very dangerous path, a very slippery slope.”

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) says the president is ignoring the Constitution.

“The power to define the path to become a naturalized citizen and everything that’s encompassed with that – is reserved for Congress,” he said. “That’s laid out very clearly in the Constitution. It’s black and white.”

Obama says he waited long enough, and says if Congress doesn’t like it, then they need to get to work.

“If you want Congress to be involved in this process, I welcome it,” Obama said. “But you have to pass a bill.”

Congressional Republicans have already vowed to push back against President Obama for his actions, and the debate is only expected to heat up after Republicans take control of both chambers of Congress next year.

Both the House and the Senate have passed bills in an effort to reform the immigration system, but so far, the chambers can’t agree on one bill to get to the President’s desk.

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