Washington, D.C. – For the past year, the House has been shuffling their collective feet on immigration reform. During that time President Obama has repeatedly said he won’t use executive actions, preferring to let Congress do their job, but they haven’t and Obama isn’t going to wait for action on immigration reform any longer.
In a press conference, held in the Rose Garden earlier today, Obama said over the next few months he would take actions to pass immigration reform. He told reporters that House Speaker John Boehner made it clear last week he will not introduce any immigration legislation this year so the president has no choice but to take action on his own.
“I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue and Congress chooses to do nothing,” Obama said, according to Politico. Obama added because Congress failed “to pass a darn bill” he will take action and not doing so is “bad for our economy.”
Obama said executive actions is not how he prefers to make changes to our immigration laws, but said when there is a “serious problem” and Congress doesn’t act, he must. He said he “held off on pressuring them for a long time to give Speaker Boehner the space he needed to get his fellow Republicans on board,” but after a year, he won’t ignore the immigration issue any more.
What action the President will take is not clear, though a White House spokesperson told reporters ahead of the press conference that Obama has asked Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to move resources from the U.S. interior to the border to handle the child immigrant crisis, according to Politico.
He will also have members of his administration review immigration laws and see where he can use his executive powers without help from Congress. He also met with immigration advocates to discuss deportation policies and other changes that can be made to improve the immigration system.
Obama asked his administration to present actions he can take by the end of July.
In response to Obama’s announcement, House Speaker Boehner once again alluded to the president abusing his executive powers as the reason his peers won’t work in immigration reform. An oft repeated and false argument since Obama hasn’t passed any more executive orders than former and beloved Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, according to Forbes.
Again Boehner blamed the President’s policies on that influx of unaccompanied minors at the Southern Border and plans to forge ahead with his lawsuit which accuses Obama of abusing his powers. The Speaker also said—again an oft repeated argument—that Obama has refused to work with Congress on immigration reform.
Meanwhile, Obama is asking Congress for nearly $2 billion in additional funds to deal with the crisis at the border. The funds will help house, feed, process and provide immigration attorneys to the over 50,000 immigrants who have flooded the border over the past several months.