President Barack Obama on Thursday announced executive action on immigration policy, offering temporary relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants.
"We're going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mother who's working hard to provide for her kids," Obama said in a speech to the nation.
The plan will allow as many as five million undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S., including the undocumented parents of children born here.
Here's what local politicians had to say after the address:
Governor Pat Quinn
“President Obama today took a necessary first step in fixing our broken immigration system. His plan will give hope to families who live in constant fear of separation. Hardworking immigrants from around the world came together to build our country and our state. I commend President Obama for showing compassion and understanding to millions of individuals stuck in a heartbreaking situation. Congress must follow President Obama’s lead and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
"We applaud President Obama for taking executive action and bringing much needed relief from deportation to families throughout Chicago and across the country. We support this move because it is consistent with our values as a city that has always welcomed and benefited from the contributions of immigrants. It is good for our families, good for our economy, and it will help drive us toward a brighter future for every Chicagoan. While we support the President’s action, only Congress can finish the job. We will continue to join with the overwhelming majority of the American people in pushing for bipartisan action by Congress on comprehensive immigration reform."
Senator Dick Durbin
"The President’s action will make America safer by bringing millions of immigrants out of the shadows to register with the government and undergo rigorous law enforcement and national security background checks. By bringing undocumented workers into the legal workforce, we will eliminate the unfair competition of the underground economy. And all of these workers will be paying payroll taxes, which will increase tax revenues by billions of dollars every year."
Reps. Peter Roskam, Rodney Davis, Randy Hultgren, John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger, Aaron Schock
“President Obama’s plan to ignore the Constitution and circumvent Congress is a lawless move that will ultimately do much more harm than good. We believe Congress should take the lead on immigration reform, securing our borders, improving the visa system and addressing the many layers of our broken system. This temporary measure will only spark chaos and create major problems both now and in the future. In fact, President Obama himself has said many times that an executive action of this magnitude would be unlawful. By blatantly bypassing Congress to execute this illegal executive order, the president is neglecting the interest of the American people, diminishing our national security, undermining the rule of law, and setting back efforts to permanently and meaningfully fix what's broken in the immigration system."
Congresswoman Robin Kelly
"I support the President taking action to address our nation's immigration crisis by securing our borders, prioritizing criminals in deportations and making everyone accountable in paying their fair share of taxes. His executive action is an important first step toward immigration reform, which Republicans in Congress have punted on for far too long. It is now incumbent upon Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform to fix our country's broken immigration system and keep families together."
Congressman Bill Foster
“We have ignored our broken immigration system for too long, and I am pleased that the President is taking action to improve our immigration system and provide temporary relief for some families. These actions which are long overdue, will prevent millions of families from being torn apart, provide visas for highly-skilled workers, and give many immigrants relief from the fear of deportation."
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth
“During my time in office I have consistently heard from individuals and groups throughout the political spectrum that believe we need comprehensive immigration reform that is practical, fair and humane and that will grow our economy. I was encouraged by the passage of bipartisan immigration reform last year in the Senate and am disappointed that the majority in the House of Representatives did not bring similar bipartisan legislation for a vote. Given the inaction of Congress, I support the President moving forward with executive actions that will improve security at the border while prioritizing deporting felons, not families. It is now time for Congress to work together to enact comprehensive immigration reform that will improve our immigration system for the long term.”