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Obama Defends Immigration Plan         11/23 12:23

   President Barack Obama is shrugging off Republican criticism of his actions 
to lift the threat of deportation from millions of immigrants living illegally 
in the United States.

   HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is shrugging off Republican 
criticism of his actions to lift the threat of deportation from millions of 
immigrants living illegally in the United States.

   In an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Obama said it was 
important that he act unilaterally to prioritize the deportation of criminals 
and recent arrivals and spare those who have lived here illegally for at least 
five years and have roots, including children who are American citizens.

   "Why we would prefer a system in which they're in the shadows, potentially 
taking advantage of living here but not contributing?" Obama said in the 
interview, which was taped Friday in Las Vegas after Obama delivered an 
immigration speech there.

   The president pointed to executive orders issued by Democratic and 
Republican predecessors and said presidents exercise "prosecutorial discretion 
all the time."

   Obama's executive actions, which he announced Thursday, have drawn a 
withering response from Republicans, but also has laid bare divisions within 
the GOP over how to deal with immigration.

   Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, rejected Obama's claim of prosecutorial discretion. 
"Essentially he's gotten in the job of counterfeiting immigration papers, 
because there's no legal authority to do what he's doing," Cruz said on "Fox 
News Sunday."

   A second Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said his party 
shares the blame for failing to get an immigration bill through the House of 
Representatives.

   "Shame on us as Republicans for having a body that cannot generate a 
solution to an issue that is national security, it's cultural and it's 
economic. The Senate has done this three times," Graham said on CNN's "State of 
the Union."

   Indeed, Obama cast his decision as the result of the Republican-led House's 
failure to act on a comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed with 
bipartisan support in June 2013, or advance legislation of its own.

   He said Republicans still could pass an immigration bill.

   Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said he had pressed the Republican leadership 
to start passing legislation two weeks ago on the immigration issue.

   "We are going to pass legislation, but it is not going to be the legislation 
the president is asking for," Labrador said. "We as Republicans don't believe 
you should give amnesty first and talk about security later, which is what the 
Senate bill did." Labrador spoke on "Face the Nation" on CBS.

   Obama spent the weekend in Nevada, mostly playing golf, after the speech and 
was returning to the White House on Sunday evening.


(KA)


 
 
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