Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Tuesday night accused the Obama administration of counterfeiting valid immigration papers, by allowing illegal immigrants work authorizations that aren't allowed under U.S. law.
"The administration is printing work authorizations," he said. "It is affirmatively acting in contravention of federal law."
"Basically what it's doing is counterfeiting immigration documents, because the work authorizations it's printing are directly contrary to the text of federal law," he added.
Democrats have defended President Barack Obama's plan to give legal protection to millions of illegal immigrants and let them work in the United States as completely legal, since other presidents have taken executive action in the area of immigration before. Democrats have said Obama is simply using "prosecutorial discretion" to prioritize which illegal immigrants should be deported.
But Cruz and other Republicans have said Obama is doing much more than simply prioritizing immigrants for deportation, and is instead rewarding illegal immigrants deemed to be lesser priorities, but protecting them and letting them work in the United States.
Earlier this week, a federal judge in Texas slapped an injunction on Obama's action in order to freeze the immigration system, and allow the court to hear an argument from 26 states that Obama's action violates the law. That ruling forced the Department of Homeland Security to admit on Tuesday that it could not proceed with the major elements of Obama's plan.