Obama Says He Will Use Executive Action to Enact Immigration Reforms
President Obama says he will bypass Congress and use executive action to enact some immigration reforms and address illegal-immigration crisis at the Mexican border.
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"America cannot wait forever for them to act," Obama said from the Rose Garden. He said he's launching a new effort to "fix as much of our immigration system as I can, on my own, without Congress."
The president is pushing for new executive actions in defiance of Boehner's threat last week to file suit against the president over alleged executive overreach. Even before Monday's announcement, Boehner and his colleagues alleged that the president has gone too far in making changes without Congress to immigration policy, the Affordable Care Act, environmental regulations and other issues.
This new push would go further still.
A senior White House official said Obama will first direct the Homeland Security and Justice departments to "move available and appropriate enforcement resources from our interior to the border." Further, the president has directed 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's decision effectively declares that a broad based change in immigration policy is dead for the year, and perhaps for the remainder of his administration. Changing immigration laws and providing a path to citizenship for about 11 million immigrants in the country illegally has been one Obama's top priorities as he sought to conclude his presidency with a major second-term victory.
Meanwhile, the president is still grappling with a surge of illegal immigrant children and families along the border. Earlier in the day, Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for more flexibility on that front, seeking increased powers to send unaccompanied children from Central American back from the U.S. border to the countries they're trying to flee illegally.
Obama also asked for increased penalties for persons who smuggle immigrants who are vulnerable, such as children. The request is part of a broader administration response to what the White House has called a "humanitarian crisis" on the border.
Obama is asking Congress for emergency money that would, among other things, help conduct "an aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers." Obama's letter to Boehner, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the administration is confronting the influx with a coordinated response on both sides of the border.
Watch Obama's speech above.
The hosts of "The Five" weighed in on the immigration crisis and Obama's plans to use executive action.
“Here’s a situation where you’ve got thousands and thousands of children who are fleeing from the highest murder capital rates in the world – or at least in the Western Hemisphere. They’re here ‘cause I think their parents are trying to make them safe. We have a responsibility as citizens and as human beings to take care of them. And the idea of taking these children and putting them back in El Salvador, where they can get shot and bludgeoned and raped, is absolutely obscene,” Bob Beckel said.
Kimberly Guilfoyle argued that no one is suggesting that, and Beckel is making it sound so barbaric.
Eric Bolling said that the left wants to give these illegal immigrants refugee status.
“You’re opening up the floodgates,” he said.
“This isn’t about immigration, it’s about borders. President Obama wants to take in borders rather than enforce borders. That’s the problem,” Greg Gutfeld said.
Gutfeld continued, "If President Obama wants to open borders and he wants to retreat from the world stage and he wants to end spy programs, you might as well just hand the suicide vests out at our border because you're making it incredibly easy for the people that flew into our buildings to just walk in and blow us up."
Watch more of what the hosts had to say below.