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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio says it would be 'unconstitutional and counterproductive' for Obama to move alone on immigration

Sen. Marco Rubio, who helped author the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed a year ago, says it would be "unconstitutional" for President Obama to use executive action on the issue.

"Taking executive action on immigration is not only unconstitutional but also counterproductive to the goal of fixing our broken immigration system," Rubio said in a statement. "Despite the Supreme Court recently striking down the President's unconstitutional executive actions, they continue to be commonplace for this administration. The inability of Congress to act is no excuse for the President to exceed his constitutional powers."

Obama yesterday said he would move on immigration, blaming House Republicans for refusing to do so. It's not clear what he'll do, or how far he can go. Obama did not mention Rubio by name but credited some Republicans for engaging. Rubio has backed away in the past year but says he still thinks the issue should be addressed.

He's emphasizing an enforcement-first approach over the comprehensive bill he had championed.

"America needs immigration reform," his statement read, "but the only immigration reform that has any chance of passing Congress is one that first modernizes our legal immigration system towards one based on merit, and one that enforces our right to protect our nation's sovereignty by securing all sectors of the border, preventing visa overstays and requiring employers to use E-Verify. As I have said now for over one year, we will not have the votes needed to address the 12 million people currently here illegally until the enforcement measures happen first.

"It is disingenuous for the President to link the mass migration crisis at the border with the failure to pass immigration reform. The wave of unaccompanied minors entering the United States is driven by violence and poverty at home, and the false belief that if they make it to America they are legally allowed to stay. This belief has been partially driven by the administration's unwillingness to enforce our current immigration laws, something that President Obama has reinforced with this announcement."

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 11:52am]


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