In a symbolic vote on immigration, Republican U.S. Sen.-elect Cory Gardner of Yuma on Thursday backed blocking the president from enacting an executive order sparing millions from deportation.
Gardner, who cast his vote as a member of the U.S. House, said he simply could not support President Barack Obama’s unilateral power move.
His vote comes after a tough election bid in which Gardner beat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall by campaigning as a moderate and calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
“Today, the House voted on a bill to condemn the president’s circumvention of Congress,” Gardner said in a statement shortly after the vote.
Tea party star Rep. Ted Yoho, a Florida Republican, crafted the measure in response to Obama’s executive order that would spare an estimated 5 million immigrants in the country illegally from deportation. Obama said the administration’s focus would be on deporting “criminals, not families.”
Yoho’s measure would prohibit presidents from delaying deportations.
Gardner acknowledged that the vote Thursday achieves nothing in terms of immigration reform, but he said the measure is necessary to pave the way for Congress to act.