Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Wednesday night voiced strong opposition to President Barack Obama’s plan to take unilateral executive action to relax the nation’s immigration policy and grant relief from deportation to reportedly as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.
The move has drawn criticism from Republicans, among them Ayotte, who supported the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in the summer of 2013.
According to various reports, the move could help as many as 5 million illegal immigrants avoid deportation. Obama is scheduled to describe the action in a prime time address Thursday night.
Ayotte, in a statement issued to the New Hampshire Journal, reiterated her support for immigration reform, but said Obama’s action will achieving such reform more difficult.
“While I support fixing our nation’s broken immigration system,” she said, “the president should honor his own words that unilateral action on immigration reform is ‘not how our democracy functions’ and ‘not how our Constitution is written.’”
Ayotte was referring to Obama’s comments in 2011.
“By circumventing Congress,”Ayotte said, “the president will only make it more difficult to achieve long-term reforms to secure our border, stop future waves of illegal immigration, and reform our legal immigration system.”
CNN reported that the plan includes deferring deportation for the parents of U.S. citizens, “a move that would affect up to 3.5 million people.”
“Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken. Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for far too long,” Obama said in a video posted on his Facebook page Wednesday. “And so what I’m going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as President to make the system work better, even as I continue to work with Congress to encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the president’s intended action.