State Rep. Montenegro opposes Obama's immigration plan

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," November 20, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We don't like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship. I know some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle class families at a time when they already feel like they've gotten the raw deal for over a decade. I hear those concerns. But that's not what these steps would do.


MEGYN KELLY, HOST: That was President Obama just a short time ago reassuring American workers that his immigration plan will not affect them. My next guest came to this country from El Salvador legally with his family at just five years old. He worked his way to the top of his college class and is now a state lawmaker in Arizona. He disagrees with the president's argument. Joining me now Republican State Representative Steve Montenegro. Sir, good of you to be here tonight. So, I know you feel that this is a slap in the face to immigrants who have waited their turn to come here legally. How so?

STATE REP. STEVE MONTENEGRO, R - AZ: Thank you for having me, Megyn. First of all, this is utter lawlessness. This is a phenomenal disrespect and disregard for the Constitution of this country, for the laws of our country. And frankly, it's rewarding people who have broken the law, immigration laws, it's rewarding those people. Now, it's a slap in the face to immigrants because first of all that's the reason people immigrate to this country. No one is above the law. Everybody is supposed to respect the law, not the President of the United States, nobody's above the law.


KELLY: But now, let me ask because the president would say it's not rewarding them, it's acknowledging the reality that they're here, they're not going to leave. It's not realistic to deport them. So why don't we just be real about what's happening?

MONTENEGRO: If you're an immigrant that came to this country legally, you went through the rigorous process of the immigration system, this is a slap in the face to you. If you are an immigrant or someone trying to immigrate to this country, somebody that's been waiting for 10 years, their case is on somebody's desk waiting to get the permission, legal permission to do it, this is a slap in the face to them as well because you just told them you should have broken the law and you would have been OK being here, but no, since you followed the law.


KELLY: But you wouldn't have citizenship. I mean, these folks are not going to have citizenship, at least not yet.

MONTENEGRO: Sure. Again, these are the laws of this country. Today's action really is an inflammatory action to play with our emotions, play with people's emotions, and frankly, we just need to know that what he's trying to do is pin Americans against Americans.

KELLY: Do you think this will benefit the president politically at least with his base, with the Democrats?

MONTENEGRO: Sure. I think that this is what he desires. He's doing all of this for political gain. I disagree. I actually think the Hispanic people, immigrants, people that are here legally and people that want to get involved in the political process are seeing right through it. He's playing political games, because if he really cared as he said he did, he could have done this the first two years of his presidency. He told Univision, the top anchor, one of the top anchors in Univision, he promised to do something the first year of his presidency. He did not come through. The second year, nothing. And he owned Congress, both the House and the Senate.  For four years, he's been making promises of working with Congress, nothing. And today, after an election he says, all right, I'm going to make this move which he knows is likely unconstitutional, which he knows is extending the reasonable boundaries of the Constitution, he knows what he's doing but he knows that now, he can at least say I'm going to be able to blame somebody else.

KELLY: I will try.



KELLY: Look at this. This is just a snapshot. This is just a snapshot, but look at the celebrations outside the White House tonight. They're cheering, they're waving American flags. This group of people gathered to support what the president did. Does that tell us anything?

MONTENEGRO: Well, again, he's playing with their emotions. He doesn't care. If he would want to do something, he could have done it the first two years. He took over one-sixth of our economy, the health care industry in the state. And now, he's doing something we all know is temporary, right? We know he's crossing the Constitution, but there are also temporary measures that won't last forever. And then -- what then? What then with this soured situation in Washington, with Congress not wanting to touch this because the president decided to sidestep them and act on his own? He's playing with their emotions, promising things he won't be able to keep.

KELLY: Representative Montenegro, thank you for being here.

MONTENEGRO: In the process, he's slapping us. Thanks for having me.

KELLY: All the best, sir.

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