NGA Chair Hickenlooper: Obama Gave ‘Robust Defense’ of Exec Amnesty, Not ‘Backing Away’

Samuel Corum - Anadolu Agency/AFP
Samuel Corum - Anadolu Agency/AFP

On Monday, President Barack Obama did not back away from the merits of his executive amnesty program in a meeting with the nation’s governors.

A federal judge issued an injunction against Obama’s executive amnesty last week after a majority of the states sued the Obama administration over it. The Obama administration on Monday asked for a stay of that injunction and halted its executive amnesty program last week until the case is resolved.

Even after the administration’s setbacks, Obama gave a “robust defense of his executive effort around immigration” when he met with governors on Monday after this weekend’s NGA conference in Washington, D.C., according to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who chairs the National Governors Association (NGA).

After meeting with Obama along with other governors, Hickenlooper said that Obama spoke of the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the country and noted that “they’re not going to go away” and it would be “ridiculous if we deported all these people.” Hickenlooper said Obama noted that deporting all of the country’s illegal immigrants would have a “negative effect on our economy.”

He also said that Obama expressed concerns about illegal immigrants having to “live in terror” and not being able to get driver’s licenses before adding that Obama’s executive amnesty was enacted to address those concerns.

“He was not backing away in any sense,” Hickenlooper added, noting that Obama maintained that he wants a “comprehensive solution to immigration reform” to replace “what he feels is a failed system.”

A majority of the states sued the federal government over Obama’s executive actions, arguing that it would impose financial burdens on their states. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen found last week that the states had standing because at least one state, Texas, would “sustain irreparable harm” due to Obama’s executive amnesty.

Indicating that Texas would not be the only state whose finances would be burdened by Obama’s executive amnesty, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the nonpartisan group that analyzes issues for California lawmakers, recently released a report that found Obama’s executive amnesty would strain the state’s budget.

“The benefits received by undocumented immigrants through these programs are almost entirely funded by the state and would therefore result in additional General Fund costs of an unknown amount,” the report concluded. “The General Fund costs to provide state–funded benefits to this population are unknown at this time.”