It appears that President Barack Obama's announcement on immigration reform will be coming sooner rather than later. Tonight (Thursday, November 20th), the president will unveil his immigration reform strategy in a televised address. Millions will welcome the reforms to a long broken immigration policy, but Republicans are looking to strike back.
In a video posted on Facebook, Obama announced his coming presidential address. With the day of reckoning at hand, Republicans lawmakers are scrambling to find ways to stop any changes the president will make to the country's immigration policy. “We're going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path,” said House Speaker John Boehner.
The options for Republicans to stop Obama's executive action from taking effect are limited. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has not said exactly what actions Republican lawmakers plan to take. “We're considering a variety of options,” said McConnell, “but make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.”
With no concrete plans in place, a number of Republican politicians continue with rhetoric aimed at making the president's action threatening to the public. Speaker Boehner used the phrase “Emperor Obama.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz said the president was, “embracing the tactics of a monarch.” Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn even warned that there may be violence and anarchy as a result.
One unlikely option may be for Republicans to seek President Obama's impeachment. This would be a largely symbolic action, with little chance of success. More likely is the call for language in the upcoming budget bill to prohibit the use of funds for the president's immigration policy reforms. However, such language could still result in Democrats blocking the bill. Even if the bill could make it through Congress, the President would likely veto the bill. This back and forth could shut down the government.
Republicans appear divided over just how far to react in opposition to the coming executive action. The Republican party has seen a decline in Latino support in the past few election cycles. Coming on too strongly against immigration could further alienate the growing Latino electorate, and give Democrats the votes needed to secure a Democratic president in 2016.
Obama said he had given the House of Representatives over a year to come up with an immigration bill, but no progress had been made. “There has been ample opportunity for Congress to pass a bipartisan immigration bill that would strengthen our borders, improve the legal immigration system and lift millions of people out of the shadows,” said the president.
The Senate had passed an expansive and bipartisan immigration bill in 2013, but the House has still never taken up the bill. Meanwhile, both Republicans and immigration advocates say the president has had six years to pass meaningful immigration reform. Both sides blame the other for the lack of progress, but everyone seems to agree on one fact, that immigration reform is long overdue.
Stay tuned tonight at 6 p.m. here in Arizona, (8 p.m. EST) to watch the President's live televised address to the country on his proposed immigration reforms through executive action.