Reaction from Maine’s congressional delegation to the speech Thursday night by President Obama in which he outlined his plans to use executive authority to make sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration policies:

“I fear that the action announced tonight could actually make the reform we need more difficult by causing a backlash in public opinion and solidifying Republican opposition. Our immigration system is broken. No one questions that. But, in order to achieve a long-term solution that brings people together, the Congress, including the House of Representatives – not the executive – must take the lead. The country – including the millions of immigrants we’re talking about – deserves more from its democracy.” – Sen. Angus King, independent

“The President has said previously that the best way to address this problem is legislatively and that he does not have the authority to act unilaterally. His actions are contradicting his previous statements. By acting unilaterally, the President is making it less likely that Congress will act to pass comprehensive reforms. He is undermining the efforts of those of us who favor immigration reform by diverting energy from that goal.” – Sen. Susan Collins, Republican

“I agree with the President that Congress must now finish the job. This is not an issue that anyone should use to hold our government hostage, and now is the time for us to take up this matter once and for all. I sincerely hope my colleagues in the new Congress can have a real debate about what comprehensive immigration reform looks like, and that we can finally achieve a commonsense, bipartisan solution. ” – Rep. Mike Michaud, Democrat, 2nd Congressional District

“Keeping families together who have lived here in the United States for years is a worthy goal and will be good for our economy and our communities. A permanent fix to our broken immigration system needs to come from Congress, but the truth is that Republicans in the House have refused again and again to take up comprehensive reform. I’m glad that President Obama, like 11 other presidents before him, is using executive action on immigration and taking this first step.” – Rep. Chellie Pingree, Democrat, 1st Congressional District

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