In a nationally televised address tonight, President Barack Obama says he’ll issue an executive order that will lead to some legal immigration reforms. Here are views from Texans on what that could mean.
Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much, except, says Obama, the state of current immigration policy.
“Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken,” said Obama in a White House video publicizing Thursday night's televised speech.
The president says he’ll issue an executive order that Fox News, The New York Times and others say could lead to 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the country. The order will focus on children who came here illegally with parents, and some of those children who are now grown with their own families.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas wanted a bipartisan immigration reform bill, and warned Wednesday that this move will poison those efforts.
“The message is that the president has given, and our Democratic friends have given, is ‘we give up,'" Cornyn said from the Senate floor. "We’re not going to do our job as legislators. We’re going to let the president with the stroke of a pen provide an executive amnesty to millions of people and create an awful lot of harm in the process.”
What kind of harm? Cornyn said the president’s action is unconstitutional and unfair.
“The president is going to tell people who’ve been waiting patiently in line, playing by the rules, 'get in the back of the line, I’m going to put millions of people ahead of you who in front of the line who haven’t played by the rules,'” Cornyn said.
Dallas attorney Sol Villasana, who used to serve on the Mexican-American Bar Association, is looking forward to the president’s executive order. He doesn’t buy Cornyn’s arguments.
“The Republicans have consistently poisoned those waters with their venom and their hateful speech against immigrants,” Villasana said. “These are children who came here when they were children. Some of them are still children, and shouldn’t be treated as criminals.”
Republicans also call the executive order a political move, since it keeps Democratic-leaning immigrants in the country. Villasana says Obama is, finally, just doing the right thing.
“That’s just being a leader and doing what is correct and keeping families together,” Villasana said.
Texas is among six states with the largest undocumented immigrant population, according to Pew Research. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins counts tens of thousands in Dallas alone.