Sen. Mike Johanns isn’t waiting until tonight to react to an immigration proposal to be unveiled by President Barack Obama in a televised White House address.
“My reaction could not be more negative. What the president is doing on immigration is just wrong,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Here he goes, acting unilaterally, he undermines the legal system. I believe he also ignores a very clear message from the American people. He said, ‘My policies are on the ballot’ and I think Americans showed him what they thought of his policies.”
Sources in the White House have told the news media the president is poised to use executive action to make four million illegal immigrants eligible for temporary protected status and provide some sort of legal working status for another one million through other means.
Johanns says Obama has no right to act without the consent of Congress.
“Never has a president ever gone so far as to say I can literally affect the legal status of five million people with my signature on a piece of paper,” Johanns says. “It is just beyond comprehension.”
Sources also say the president will expand visas for specialized workers, modify immigrant detection procedures, and strengthen border security.
Johanns says the president is, in effect, ready to grant work permits to five million illegal immigrants for the next 24 months.
“He so destabilized the system now, by this unilateral action, that it’s just going to be pure chaos,” according to Johanns. “How does anybody know if they go in this direction and take advantage of what the president is saying that they aren’t identifying themselves, putting themselves on a list for deportation when another president sees the world differently?”
Johanns insists the president is undermining the immigration system.
“I just think we’re in for a mess. I just can’t be more discouraged about what the president is doing here. I think it’s creating chaos.”
Johanns also says the president has “poisoned the well” in working with Congress on immigration reform.
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews Sen. Mike Johanns on President Barack Obama’s immigration proposal. [8 min.]