Reid calls GOP outrage over Obama deportation policy change 'phony'

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Reid's floor speech came a few days after Obama announced that the United States would stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to the United States when they were young and instead issue them work visas as long as they met certain criteria.

"There's no better illustration of Republicans' hypocrisy than their phony outrage this past weekend," Reid said Tuesday. "On Friday President Obama announced the administration would suspend deportation of young people — upstanding young people, brought here by their parents as children, provided these young people attend college or serve in the military."

Reid noted that the policy change would likely mean 800,000 immigrants would not be deported under the policy.

On Monday, news broke that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) would not move forward with an alternative proposal to Democrat-backed immigration reform legislation. Rubio's legislation would have granted non-immigrant visas to the same group of young immigrants that Obama's policy keeps from being deported but, unlike the Democrats' favored-Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, Rubio's proposal did not include a path to citizenship. Rubio had been planning to have his proposal in bill form later in the summer.

Reid said Rubio's proposal was "just talk."

"And Sen. Marco Rubio, the junior from Florida, has even talked up a similar idea for months — although he never actually proposed a proposal," Reid said. "This was just talk. There wasn't ever a single word ever in writing. Yet, Republicans' glowing expression of support for the president's decision were not forthcoming.

"Instead, Republicans cried about the way the directive was issued. They prefer a long-term solution — of course we all do," Reid continued. "They don't like the timing. They should've been consulted on an issue this important. It should've been left to Congress. Being left to Congress — we've tried to do that for years and we can't because they won't let us."

Reid also cited new polling out Tuesday that found 66 percent of independents supported Obama's policy decision. Reid said that even though some Republican criticism was that Obama was circumventing his constitutional authority, while others maintained that Obama's decision was a short-term fix, all the attacks did not focus on the substance of Obama's proposal.

"They stop us procedurally. Their complaints are varied but they have one thing in common: none of them actually take issue with the substance of President Obama's directive and with the polling results today announced in national press, clearly overwhelmingly supported by independents, overwhelmingly supported by Democrats, and frankly, Mr. President, Republicans aren't that much opposed to it either," Reid said. "But the only Republicans that are opposed to it by a large margin are the Republicans in the Congress."