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Obama defends immigration stance


AP

Obama defends immigration stance

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HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) – President Barack Obama is shrugging off Republican criticism of his actions to lift the threat of deportation from millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States.

In an interview broadcast yesterday on ABC’s This Week, Obama said it was important that he act unilaterally to prioritise the deportation of criminals and recent arrivals and spare those who have lived here illegally for at least five years and have roots, including children who are American citizens.

“Why we would prefer a system in which they’re in the shadows, potentially taking advantage of living here but not contributing?” Obama said in the interview, which was taped Friday in Las Vegas after Obama delivered an immigration speech there.

The president pointed to executive orders issued by Democratic and Republican predecessors and said presidents exercise “prosecutorial discretion all the time”.

Obama’s executive actions, which he announced Thursday, have drawn a withering response from Republicans, but also have laid bare divisions within the GOP over how to deal with immigration.

Senator Ted Cruz, rejected Obama’s claim of prosecutorial discretion, but a second Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said his party shares the blame for failing to get an immigration bill through the House of Representatives.

Indeed, Obama cast his decision as the result of the Republican-led House’s failure to act on a comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed with bipartisan support in June 2013, or advance legislation of its own.

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