Obama addressed the nation to outline a new executive order that will allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the country.
*New plan has enraged Republicans who say he lacks the constitutional authority to pick and choose which to deport.
*Illegal immigrants can’t apply for months and no one who arrived after January 1, 2010 is eligible.
*President acknowledges that it’s a temporary fix and demands help from Congress to make it permanent.
*Anyone who takes advantage of the program will have to pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee and prove their eligibility.
*Two Republican aides complained about an ‘amnesty’ for people who came to the US illegally and then had children here – calling their children ‘anchor babies’.
President Obama announced a plan Thursday night to mainstream millions of illegal immigrants with an executive order allowing them to stay instead of facing deportation, bringing howls from Republicans who complained about so-called ‘anchor babies’ helping their illegal parents remain in the U.S.
The president calmly explained in a 16-minute speech – subtitled in Spanish – the parameters of what angry Republicans are calling a lawless ‘amnesty.’
‘We’re going to offer the following deal,’ he said: ‘If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes – you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation.’
‘You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.’
‘That’s what this deal is. Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t,’ the president cautioned.
‘This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive – only Congress can do that.’
‘All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.’
Republicans pushed back immediately, with most of the energy coming from tea party conservatives.
‘Tonight President Obama issued an oral royal decree that will be followed by a written regal decree, as any good monarch would do,’ Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert jabbed in a statement.
‘This unlawful, blatant executive action would legalize more than 5 million people here illegally. This president is single-handedly creating a constitutional crisis and hurting the citizens he took an oath to protect and defend.’
Utah Sen. Mike Lee, another tea party-linked lawmaker, called the president’s speech ‘a desperate attempt to remain relevant.’ The president has decided to defy the American people, ignore the election results, and usurp the legislative process,’ Lee said. ‘This act demonstrates he respects neither election outcomes, nor the rule of law.’
It will take the federal government several months to prepare for receiving applications. By that time, Republicans will control both houses of Congress and may take action to reverse the policy.
By David Martosko, US Political Editor – MailOnline.com –