- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2014

President Obama’s move to grant nearly 5 million illegal immigrants amnesty from deportation has united Hispanic voters in an unprecedented fashion, leaving them firmly behind the White House and Democrats and adamant about opposing Republicans’ plans to rescind the new policy, a leading pollster said Monday.

Nearly 90 percent of Hispanics, cutting across political and demographic lines, support Mr. Obama’s claim of executive authority to halt deportations for illegal immigrants, according to the Latino Decisions survey of registered Hispanic voters.

“This was a resounding victory for the grass roots for Latinos and for immigrant families,” said Arturo Carmona, director of Presente.org, one of the groups that sponsored the poll. “It’s clear Latinos see this as a major leap forward in healing the relationship with the president, particularly as we begin to look toward 2016.”

But the popularity of the move among Hispanics stands in contrast with other Americans, who take a dim view of the president’s move, according to more general polling. A Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday found 50 percent of those who vote regularly opposed Mr. Obama’s unilateral action, and 40 percent supported it.

The Rasmussen poll was of 1,000 likely voters, while the Latino Decisions poll was a smaller sample of 405 registered voters who are Hispanic.

Both sides continue to debate the appropriateness and effectiveness of Mr. Obama’s policy, which he announced in an address to the country Thursday.

Details remain sketchy, but the White House has said nearly 5 million illegal immigrants will qualify either for an expanded policy for so-called dreamers, which has been in effect since 2012, or for a new policy granting temporary amnesty from deportation to illegal immigrant parents who have been in the U.S. for at least five years and who have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

Republican critics argue Mr. Obama has gone beyond the extent of his legal authority, and warn it sets a bad precedent for future administrations.

“That’s really a dangerous, dangerous threshold the president’s crossed,” Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, told Fox News on Monday.

He and fellow Republicans have called for the new Obama policy to be rescinded, but advocates said they’ll vehemently defend them and say the categories of those freed from fear of deportation should be expanded beyond the 5 million Mr. Obama singled out.

The Hispanic groups that sponsored the poll said Monday the issue is personal to many Latino voters because so many of them know someone who’s affected. Latino Decisions polling has found that 64 percent of Hispanic voters said they personally know someone who’s an illegal immigrant, and of those, 51 percent said the person was a family member.

Republicans remain adamantly opposed, however.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Monday he’ll soon “assert a legal action” to try to stop the new policy.

“I am addressing this as a legal issue, not a political issue,” Mr. Abbott said. “The president has crossed the line from politics to endangering the constitutional structure.”

He said his analysis of Mr. Obama’s actions found he violated two sections of the Constitution as well as a federal law governing how the administration carries out laws.

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