Immigration reform has been quite a topic on social media for years among activists and advocates for and against action on the issue. After President Barack Obama unveiled his executive action Tuesday night that would shield up to 5 million immigrants illegally in the U.S. from deportation, politicians, pundits, journalists and celebrities took to their Twitter perches to applaud, denounce and analyze Obama’s plan.
Party lines determined most of Washington’s response to Obama’s announcement. A majority of Democrats cheered Obama’s decision and rebuked the House for taking over a year-and-a-half to act on immigration reform.
Republicans mainly excoriated Obama’s decision, using terms like “abuse of power” and that he went against the wishes of the American people. Notably, highly speculated 2106 presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Twitter and Facebook did not address Obama’s action.
The New York Post's cover for Friday morning pretty much showed what they thought of the president's announcement.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio issued a statement on his website, calling for more secure borders before granting citizenship unilaterally.
“We need immigration reform," writes Rubio. "But the right way to do it is to first bring illegal immigration under control by securing the borders and enforcing the laws, then modernizing our legal immigration system. After we do these things, we will eventually have to deal with those here illegally in a reasonable but responsible way.”
Despite this criticism, Obama announced he would be increasing funding for border security to, "stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over."
Celebrities and notable immigration proponents praised Obama for taking initiative and giving relief to many undocumented immigrants.
PewResearch Hispanic began publishing crunched numbers just a couple hours after the speech.
After people who would benefit from the executive action celebrated, comments regarding those who would not be granted the three-year deportation relief took over Twitter.
Toward the end of Obama's speech, he said the United States immigration system was broken and more still needed to be done. He said explicitly that the next step would be:
His most retweeted phrase of the night resonated with not only recent immigrants, but second and third generation Americans.