Republicans in Utah’s congressional delegation have uniformly condemned President Obama’s executive action extending temporary legal status to some 5 million undocumented immigrants. But Senator Orrin Hatch says he plans to rectify the situation.
Hatch echoes many others in the Republican Party when he says President Obama’s immigration action undermines the rule of law and the Constitution. But Hatch is unusual among those in Utah’s delegation, because he is the only one who voted for bipartisan comprehensive immigration legislation. In fact, he says there are parts of the President’s proposal that he might have supported.
“Even though some of the things he did, I would like to see happen through regular channels and through the following of our laws, I can’t countenance this types of unilateral activity,” Hatch says.
He says the President should give Republicans more time to act. He contends that even though House leadership refused to take up the Senate’s immigration bill, they were going to address the issue in their own way. Hatch, the most senior Republican in the Senate and the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he will lead his party towards a solution.
“Look, there is a lot of feeling in the business community in Utah that we need to do something here. We need to do it right,” Hatch says. “I want to pass real immigration legislation that will be meaningful, will be constitutional, will help millions of people to really have status, rather than some temporary, unconstitutional way like the President has done.”
Hatch was a key player in the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform effort, introducing numerous amendments. He was also an original co-sponsor of the Dream Act for younger immigrants and has introduced legislation to reform the visa program for high-skilled workers.