Sen. Johnson On Immigration, Competing Education Priorities, Learning To Hunt

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On Thursday, President Obama announced his executive action blocking the deportation of about four million illegal immigrants in the country. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson joins us to respond to that executive action. Then, we examine the competing priorities that lawmakers and school administrators have for education in Wisconsin, and we ask what your priorities are. And in the latest edition of “Wisconsin Life” we get to know the DNR’s “Learn To Hunt” program.

Featured in this Show

  • Ron Johnson: President Is Exacerbating Immigration Problem

    President Barack Obama is breaking the law by blocking the deportation of millions of immigrants who have entered the country illegally, according to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

    “(Obama) really does not have the constitutional or legal authority to do what he did,” said the Republican senator from Wisconsin in a recent interview on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Central Time.”

    Last week, Obama addressed the nation in prime time to say that he is taking action on his own to address illegal immigration in the country. The president’s plan includes increasing border security, making it easier for high-skilled workers to stay in the U.S., and blocking the deportation of about 4 million immigrants. The last part of the order has been by far the most controversial.

    There are between 85,000 and 100,000 undocumented immigrants living in Wisconsin, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Of those immigrants, people who were brought to the country as children before 2010 and the parents of children who were born in the U.S. or who are permanent legal residents can now apply for temporary deportation relief and three-year working permits.

    Legal scholars have pointed to the president’s prosecutorial discretion as the basis for his executive action. Johnson, however, said that discretion is only applicable on a case-by-case basis. He said this action is based on “broad criteria.”

    What’s more, Johnson said this action will only exacerbate illegal immigration.

    “His deferred action on childhood admissions is the basic cause for the flooding of the borders of all of these kids out of Central America. So, when you create (incentives), you send a signal to other immigrants who are willing to come here illegally,” said Johnson

    Obama said his action will not apply to immigrants who have recently arrived in the country or who plan to come. Johnson said establishing those thresholds will only encourage corruption.

    “I know he’s set up criteria: You’ve got to be here five years. There is going to be a cottage industry set up on forged documents. He’s said you’ve got to pay your fair share of taxes. How do you enforce that?” he said.

    The announcement came less than two months before a new Congress is to be inaugurated, with Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and Senate. Johnson said that Obama’s executive action will make it difficult for Republicans to work with him.

    “President Obama, unfortunately, has chosen to start off a relationship with the new Congress by picking a fight and it’s going to make it more difficult to define the common ground and solve this problem,” he said. “He is using immigration as a political weapon. He is playing with people’s lives. I think it’s very unfortunate. I think it’s very cynical of him. He should give the new Congress a chance to fix it.”

    Obama said that he was forced to act because the Republican-controlled House still hadn’t taken up an immigration reform bill over a year after it was passed with bipartisan support in the Senate.

    Some Republicans have said they plan to try to block the president’s action through lawsuits or by blocking funding. Johnson is among them.

    “We’ve got the power of the purse,” he said. “We can simply defund those specific areas. It’s not threatening any shutdowns. It would be very targeted, very focused.”

  • Senator Ron Johnson Responds To President Obama's Immigration Action

    On Thursday, President Obama announced his executive action on immigration, blocking the deportation of about four million illegal immigrants in the country. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, an outspoken critic of the president, responds to that executive action.

  • With Competing Priorities, What Will Education Look Like In 2015?

    School administrators put forth their policy agenda for the next state budget biennium, but the state legislature has a very different vision for education in the coming year. We’ll talk about the competing priorities and ask you what’s on your “wish list” when it comes to education funding and administration.

  • Wisconsin Life: Learning To Hunt

    Hunting has been an integral part of Wisconsin’s history and culture. But participation in hunting has declined in recent years. The Learn to Hunt program from the DNR aims to mentor a new generation of hunters. We talk to a woman about her experience in the program.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Ron Johnson Guest
  • Lea Ziese Guest