House Speaker John Boehner has told President Barack Obama the House will not vote this year on immigration reform legislation, so Obama is preparing to act on his own through executive action.
Obama spoke from the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday, announcing he would bypass Congress and act on his own to make changes to immigration policy by the end of the summer.
A White House official said Obama will take a few immediate steps. First, he will direct the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General to move enforcement resources from the interior to the border. He will also direct his administration to identify additional possible steps to take. Obama will expect recommendations from his team by the end of the summer.
"The President will continue to make clear that regardless of the steps he takes through administrative action, nothing replaces Congress’s ability to pass commonsense immigration reform, and will continue to make the case for a comprehensive bill," the White House official said.
Obama had given Boehner a final deadline of sorts on immigration reform late last month, delaying any executive action on the issue due to a belief there was still a "window" for legislation to pass. But there was no sign Boehner would call for a vote on the issue this year, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary loss earlier this month essentially ended any chance of the issue being taken up in the House before the mid-term elections.
"In our conversation last week, I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don't trust him to enforce the law as written," Boehner said in a statement Monday.
"Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue. The crisis at our southern border reminds us all of the critical importance of fixing our broken immigration system. It is sad and disappointing that – faced with this challenge – President Obama won't work with us, but is instead intent on going it alone with executive orders that can't and won't fix these problems."
Boehner said last week he is planning to sue Obama over his extensive use of executive orders. Obama's latest move will likely only give Boehner more ammunition.
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