Arizona pols weigh in on Obama immigration announcement

2014-06-30T16:00:00Z 2014-08-05T16:13:47Z Arizona pols weigh in on Obama immigration announcementBy Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Arizona politicians react to President Obama's announcement that he will address immigration problems through executive action.

“Arizona has suffered from federal inaction to fix our broken immigration system. But executive action can’t fix it. Piecemeal legislation can’t fix it. Congress must act – and pass comprehensive immigration reform. How many more emergencies will it take? Arizona families want reform. So do our small-business owners, chambers of commerce, educators, farmers and so many others. A full year ago, the U.S. Senate, including Arizona Senators McCain and Flake, passed tough, fair, comprehensive reform. It’s inexcusable – and downright pathetic – that House leaders are stonewalling on an issue so important to our nation. The House needs to vote on reform – now.” - Congressional District 1 Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick

"It's clear that our immigration system is broken and that our border remains unsecured. President Obama has shown time and again he is more concerned with pushing his own politically motivated liberal agenda on immigration reform than he is in securing the border. His petulant decision to unilaterally proceed on his own will not fix the problem until he makes real and lasting border security the top priority," - Gary Kiehne, Republican candidate for CD1

"The best way to secure this border is by sending our national guard down there and finishing the double layer fence. I've been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio," - Adam Kwasman, Republican candidate for CD1

"Once again, President Obama has decided to circumvent the legislative branch of government and implement an executive order that will do nothing but continue to allow the flow of illegal immigrants across our border. I helped pass SB1070 because Washington wasn’t taking this problem seriously, and the president continues to play games. Obama clearly believes he’s above the law. This executive order comes after the president’s previous executive order which eased deportations of those found to be in the United States illegally—two wrongs don’t equal right. We must secure our border, first and foremost, before we can properly deal with any other issues pertaining to the immigration debate." - Andy Tobin, Republican candidate for CD1

"For far too long, Southern Arizonans have had to contend with drug smugglers and people entering the United States illegally. Border Patrol agents are dedicated to securing our borders and keeping the people I represent safe on their land and in their homes. The recent influx of unaccompanied children entering our country illegally has made a difficult mission even more challenging.

The safety and security of Southern Arizona communities must be given the highest priority as we implement plans to stop the flow of unaccompanied children and others coming to the United States illegally. As I’ve said since day one, we must do this by putting more Border Patrol and other federal law enforcement personnel at the border. Our Border Patrol agents must no longer be tasked with providing childcare to unaccompanied immigrant children. They must be returned to their job of securing the border. 

Our state must not bear the expense of this failure of leadership and inaction in Washington. Arizona, towns, cities and agencies must be reimbursed for the services they provide because the federal government has failed to secure our border." - Congressional District 2 Rep. Ron Barber

"Great to see that President Obama finally realizes what we here in Southern Arizona know all too well--that the border is not secure. Even though we have men and women serving in the Border Patrol who are doing the best they can, President Obama's Department of Homeland Security is directing a failed strategy, and it has been in his power and job description to devise a successful strategy for over 6 years, but he has failed. Securing the border and reforming our legal immigration system so it is focused on economic growth must be the first priority. Ron Barber has been completely ineffective in ensuring our border is secure, and when I am elected to replace him, I will fight to secure the border, reform the legal immigration system, and implement common sense solutions that are fair and uphold the rule of law." - Martha McSally, Republican candidate for CD2

“President Obama’s repeated attempts to circumvent Congress and use executive order to accomplish his objectives violates the separation of powers established by the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution does not give the president the power to ignore the law simply because of his political agenda or the perception of popular opinion.

“It is especially troublesome that the president would ignore the law and attempt to use executive actions to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border, since it is a problem that he, himself, created.” - Shelley Kais, Republican candidate for CD2 

“After 18 months of political stonewalling and 12 months of ignoring the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill, I am glad to see the president is prepared to act where Congressional Republicans refuse. There are many options available to the president, from extending deferred action to all deserving family members to allowing for prosecutorial discretion on deportations. While the president’s announcement today is a welcome first step, the success of this effort will depend largely on what comes next. Sending more enforcement to our borders will do nothing for the men, women and children who are caught up in our broken system. Nor will it provide a humanitarian solution to the crisis of child refugees arriving from Central America. I look forward to the president’s next steps, and urge him to focus his efforts on protecting vulnerable families going forward.” - Congressional District 3 Rep. Raúl Grijalva

“Since the President first spoke about his intent to willfully disregard our immigration policy, the conditions at our borders have deteriorated rapidly. The facts speak for themselves.

Our immigration policy isn’t new. For over 40 years, and for better or worse, Americans and immigrants have worked within the confines of our existing system. But since the President’s Rose Garden speech on June 15, 2012, the number of illegal immigrants crossing our borders has more than doubled.

The denial of these facts won’t move things forward. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem and the problem our immigration system faces today is failed leadership and the unwillingness of the President to enforce the laws Congress has passed. His threats that he will continue to sidestep the only body charged with making law doesn’t help the process.

Until Congress can be assured that its laws will be faithfully executed, I find it increasingly unlikely that a successful overhaul of our immigration system will be achieved.” - Congressional District 5 Rep. Matt Salmon

“Instead of making threats of more executive orders, President Obama must work with Congress to secure the border once and for all. Like the majority of Arizonans and millions of Americans, I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. For too long, Arizona has paid the price for the failure of politicians in Washington to secure our border. If Washington won’t protect our citizens, as Governor, I will, in accordance with The Jones Plan: Border Security” - Christine Jones, Republican candidate for Governor

"This is more of the same failed policies from President Obama. We must send a clear message: If you cross into this country illegally, you will be removed just as quickly as you got here, no matter who you are." - Scott Smith, Republican candidate for Governor

"The Obama Administration's announcement that it will ask Congress to provide more than $2 billion in "emergency funding" for additional border patrol agents, immigration judges and detention facilities to address the "rush the border" surge is positive although it's in direct response to the amnesty policies, lax border enforcement and lenient deportation procedures of the Obama Administration! Furthermore, it's contradicted by the news that Obama will simultaneously pursue further unilateral actions, bypassing Congress, to slow deportations of illegal aliens who've lived in the U.S. for years.

I strongly disagree with President Obama's use of executive orders to legalize illegal immigration by decree, known as "deferred action" and "parole in place," which he's now indicating he will expand and extend. I'm astounded that the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder, says that the government has to "help these young immigrants fight deportation," referring to the 52,000 unaccompanied minors and 39,000 women with children from Central America who have been apprehended on the border this year. By their actions, President Obama and Attorney General Holder undermine respect for the rule of law.

The failure to proactively and effectively secure our border and enforce immigration laws, coupled with the amnesty policies enacted by the Obama Administration, have created an incentive for illegal immigration and human smuggling into the U.S. I'm the only candidate for Governor with actual law enforcement experience: as a military policeman, military police investigator and military police supervisor in the Army, and as a police officer and deputy sheriff. I will make public safety and securing the border through coordinated state-local law enforcement action my highest priority as Governor." - Frank Riggs, Republican candidate for Governor

"It's become clear that Barack Obama's words and mixed signals started this crisis, and it's also clear he has dithered for far too long while it has spun out of control, all to Arizona's detriment. However, his call to move immigration enforcement resources from the interior to the border is a good first step, as getting operational control on our southern border is paramount. However, I'm concerned about what such a move means for our interior safety. How are we going to deal with criminals who are currently here? His plan only works if the federal government will partner with local governments and sheriffs to assist with enforcing immigration laws." - Doug Ducey, Republican candidate for Governor

"Time and time again, Arizona suffers from federal government inaction related to illegal immigration.“Illegal immigration impacts Arizona every day. The time for excuses and posturing has long since passed. As Governor, I will push for additional resources for DPS and our National Guard to provide additional support for federal law enforcement officials along the border if necessary. Our citizens deserve action to stem the tide of illegal immigration -- one way or another, this needs to happen.” - Ken Bennett, Republican candidate for Governor

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

The Arizona Daily Star's Pueblo Politics blog includes stories and related items from the Tucson and Pima County political scene written by Star reporters Becky Pallack and Joe Ferguson.

Have a political topic you would like to see in the blog or suggestions? Email Becky Pallack at bpallack@tucson.com and Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com

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