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Texas governor: 'The President is being a dictator'

Immigration issues now front and center

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SAN ANTONIO – As an example of how immigration issues are now front and center, a small gathering outside San Fernando Cathedral praised last Friday's ruling against incarcerating immigrant women and children, among the flood of Central Americans detained in South Texas last year.

"I'm hopeful, but I know the job is not done," said immigration attorney Virginia Raymond. "They did not say we can't have family detention."

She said immigrant advocates still want for-profit detention centers shut down in Dilley and Karnes City, and another in Pennsylvania.

"You can't incarcerate this entire group of women and children by reciting the magic phrase, national security," Raymond said.

Rebecca Flores, a longtime advocate, said she knows a Honduran woman who fled the violence in her home country, with her son.

"I credit her for saving her child," Flores said. "I'm a mother. I would do that for my children. It's called survival."

In the nation's capital, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security remains on the verge of a partial shutdown Friday at midnight, over President Obama's executive order on immigration.  The Senate has passed a bipartisan standalone bill without the provision in the House version repealing the immigration initiative.

In an interview with ABC News, Governor Greg Abbott said, "The President is being a dictator by issuing laws in contradiction of his power under the U.S. Constitution."

While still state attorney general, Abbott filed a lawsuit joined by 25 other states that resulted in a temporary injunction against shielding up to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation for now.

"The reason why we have this lawsuit and the reason why we have this problem, is the President has not done his job," Abbott said.

The governor was asked about the immigrants who had hoped to begin the application process last week under the executive order.

"I've got compassion for everyone," Abbott said. "There's not article or Bill of Rights in the Constitution that says compassion allows the President to circumvent the rules of the Constitution."

But the students, immigration attorneys and others in front of the cathedral said there is legal precedent for what the President due to inaction by Congress.

"I don't think he studied the issue," Raymond said. "And he certainly doesn't know the people I know."