President Obama’s 15 minute address delivered yesterday on the topic of immigration action set off political waves in every direction. Republican candidates immediately criticized the President’s actions while Democrats, for the most part, offered support and praise for his decision.


Some Republicans, like Jeb Bush, directed most of their criticism at the President for acting unilaterally while at the same time expressing support for the topic of immigration reform.

Here’s a short rundown of responses from several key players in 2016.

Hillary Clinton:

Jeb Bush:

“President Obama’s ill-advised unilateral action on illegal immigration undermines all efforts to forge a permanent solution to this crisis. Action must come in the form of bipartisan comprehensive reform passed through Congress. President Obama has once again put divisive and manipulative politics before the sober leadership and sound laws required of an exceptional nation. It is time for Republican leaders in Congress to act. We must demonstrate to Americans we are the Party that will tackle serious challenges and build broad-based consensus to achieve meaningful reforms for our citizens and our future.”

Ted Cruz:

“We are unfortunately witnessing a constitutional crisis. What President Obama’s doing is he is defying the law, he’s defying the Constitution. The President quite rightly said just a few weeks ago his policies were on the ballot all over the country. This last election was a referendum among amnesty and the American people overwhelmingly rose up and said, no, we don’t want lawless amnesty. And I’m sorry to say President Obama’s reaction is defiant and it is angry with the American people. If the President goes forward with this, if he goes forward unilaterally defying the Congress, defying the American voters then it’s incumbent upon Congress to use every single constitutional rule we have. To defend the rule of law to rein in a President so the President does not become an unaccountable monarch imposing his own policies in defiance of the American people. This is a moment of testing and I am hopeful we will see Republicans in Congress stand up and side with the American people.”

Rick Perry:

“In Texas we know firsthand the problems brought by illegal immigration and bad federal policy. As we saw with the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who came across the border, a bad policy led to children being put at risk. The president’s decision tonight will lead to more illegal immigration, not less. It is time for the president and Congress to secure our border, followed by meaningful reforms. There is no more time for political grandstanding.”

Rand Paul:

Marco Rubio:

“We need immigration reform. But the right way to do it is to first bring illegal immigration under control by securing the borders and enforcing the laws, then modernizing our legal immigration system. After we do these things, we will eventually have to deal with those here illegally in a reasonable but responsible way. The President’s actions now make all of this harder and are unfair to people in our immigration system who are doing things the right way.”

Marin O’Malley:

As you can see, reaction is split sharply along party lines.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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