GOP senators warn Obama on immigration

Three of the Republicans who helped write the Senate immigration reform bill last year warned President Obama on Thursday not to issue an executive action after the midterm elections.

In a letter to President Obama, Sens. John McCainJohn McCainBush World goes for Clinton, but will a former president? GOP senator: Trump could lose Arizona Senate panel passes bill that would create 4K visas for Afghans MORE (R-Ariz.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Defense: US blames ISIS for Turkey attack | Afghan visas in spending bill | Army rolls up its sleeves Senate panel passes bill that would create 4K visas for Afghans Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office MORE (R-S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio: Turkey attack 'directed' by ISIS Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office GOP mega-donor: Trump would cause 'global depression' MORE (R-Fla.) said that such a move would poison the well for an immigration overhaul. 

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"In this regard, acting by executive order on an issue of this magnitude would be the most divisive action you could take — completely undermining any good-faith effort to meaningfully address this important issue, which would be a disservice to the needs of the American people," they added.

If Obama did take executive action, the components seem likely to include allowing new work permits and expanding ways for immigrants in the U.S. illegally to stay. The three senators argued that bypassing Congress through an executive action would violate the constitutional system of checks and balances.

"Taking executive action along the lines that have been reported would flaunt [sic] the separation of powers and our system of checks and balances, undermine the rule of law, and frustrate the proper administration of our current immigration system," they wrote.

But McCain, Graham, and Rubio maintained that Congress should take its own action on the topic.

"Congress must fulfill its obligations under the Constitution and address this issue," they wrote.

Some pro-reform Republicans have indicated that the party could consider an immigration overhaul if it wins control of the Senate. But Democrats are skeptical the GOP could move such a measure through both chambers, especially when a presidential election year is on the horizon.

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