President Barack Obama announced from the White House Rose Garden Monday he will no longer wait for congressional action but intends to attack America’s immigration woes via executive order.
“America cannot wait forever,” Obama said, explaining he’s launching a new effort to “fix as much of our immigration system as I can, on my own, without Congress.”
A senior White House official further explained Obama’s first step will be to direct the Homeland Security and Justice departments to “move available and appropriate enforcement resources from our interior to the border.”
The move will almost certainly slow down deportation efforts, but is purportedly designed to increase the deterrence factor for illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. border with Mexico.
The president is also planning to establish a team to “identify additional actions and send recommendations to him by the end of the summer on steps he can take without Congress, but within his existing authorities, to fix as much of our broken immigration system as we can.”
Obama specifically blamed Republicans in the House of Representatives for the flood of illegal immigrants making headlines nationwide.
“I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing,” Obama said. “And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it’s bad for our economy and it’s bad for our future.”
Obama also sent a letter to Congress today, calling for emergency funding to create an “aggressive deterrence strategy” to deal with the influx of women and children entering the United States illegally from Central America.
“I am writing … to request that the Congress support the new tools and resources we need,” Obama said in the letter, which also promised a detailed proposal would be sent to Capitol Hill next week. “This surge of resources will mean that cases are processed fairly and as quickly as possible … ensuring the protection of asylum seekers and refugees while enabling the prompt removal of individuals who do not qualify for asylum or other forms of relief from removal.”
Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, responded, “We appreciate the update from the White House, but there are too few details – at this point – to determine whether their proposal would be effective. … We await the actual request.”
In 2012, Obama also announced from the Rose Garden an executive action on immigration – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which halted deportations for up to 1 million illegal immigrants.
Republicans, in turn, claim DACA and lax enforcement along the border only worked together to encourage the current surge of children and families from Central America pouring across the U.S. border with Mexico.
“The president’s own executive orders have led directly to the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay,” Boehner said in a statement today. “The White House claims it will move to return these children to their families in their home countries, yet additional executive action from this president isn’t going to stem the tide of illegal crossings, it’s only going to make them worse.”
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