Utah politicians had a lot to say after President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration Thursday, in which he announced his support of deferring deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement that he was disturbed the president would take such divisive and unilateral action. Herbert said the broken immigration system is compromising national security and must be addressed by congress.
In a similar vein, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz said in a statement that President Obama was rewarding those who broke the law. He claimed the action “is a dangerous message to be sending.”
Democratic Senator Jim Dabakis said that while Republican politicians are vocal in opposition to the president’s plan, he believes most Utahns support helping their immigrant neighbors.
“I think most Utahns understand that people who have been here for 5, 10, 15, 20 years—who have raised their children here, who do the kind of jobs that other Utahns won’t do—that it’s humane, it’s fair, it’s decent, it’s reasonable to take the element of terror out of our neighbors' and friends' and people we go to church with’s lives," Dabakis said.
Dabakis urged Utah Republicans to offer an immigration bill if they do not agree with the executive move.
“So far, all we hear is whining and no substantive approach to how they would actually solve this problem,” Dabakis said.
He said Republican politicians in opposition to the executive action are merely appeasing their far right constituencies.