LAWRENCEVILLE -- President Obama's announcement to grant amnesty to illegal immigrations who came the United States as children has brought mixed reaction from Gwinnett, a county that has a large immigrant population.
"Who wouldn't want to raise their family in the land of opportunity and under the rule of law?" Congressman Rob Woodall said Friday about the announcement. "Unfortunately, President Obama's decision to cease the deportation of potentially millions of illegal immigrants and instead grant them legal work permits -- while millions of legal U.S. residents remain unemployed and unable to find work -- undermines both the rule of law and the economic opportunity that is America."
Woodall, a Republican from Lawrenceville, said he would continue to work on immigration reform but does not believe the president has the power to change the policy by himself.
"With today's decree, President Obama demonstrates the same contempt for America's laws that those who enter illegally do," Woodall said. "He is undermining the balance of power laid out by the U.S. Constitution, going far beyond his power within the executive branch and advancing his election-year politics at the expense of the American economy and the American people's trust."
Woodall's colleague, Democrat Hank Johnson, who is Gwinnett's other congressman, said Congress should have enacted on comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the past.
"President Obama's important action is a small, but highly significant step toward a humane policy on immigration that recognizes the realities of today's world," Johnson said. "Undocumented children of illegal immigrants are not responsible for their parents' actions of bringing them to America. Although they are not born here, they truly are Americans. President Obama's policy finally recognizes that fact."
But Gwinnett resident Julianne Thompson, a leader in the Atlanta Tea Party, agreed with Woodall that the move is unconstitutional.
"This is nothing more than blanket amnesty disguised in such a way to fool people into believing it applies only to children," said said in a statement. "This will have far reaching consequences which will grant amnesty to potentially millions. Americans and those here legally are struggling to find work, and this is a direct insult to them. It is nothing more than a poorly thought-out political stunt in an election year."