Frustrated by a lack of action in the House on immigration reform legislation, President Obama lashed out at Republicans in Congress on Monday, vowing to use his executive powers to make unilateral changes in U.S. immigration policy matters.
“I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can – without Congress,” the President said, as he slammed Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans for not moving forward on an immigration reform bill passed by the Senate just over a year ago.
“I don’t prefer administrative actions, I’d rather see permanent fixes to the issues we face,” the President added, his voice brimming with the sounds of frustration.
While the President said he was giving top officials until the end of summer to come up with a list of possible executive actions on immigration, even Democrats in Congress acknowledged those moves would likely have little impact.
“But while those actions provide some relief, there is no substitute for a permanent legislative solution,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).
As for Republicans, they were not pleased to hear the President again threatening an end run around Congress with more executive orders.
“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,” said Speaker John Boehner.
The latest effort by the President to bypass Congress came as Mr. Obama was also asking lawmakers for help to deal with a sudden surge of children illegally entering the U.S. across the border with Mexico, as he laid the groundwork for a plan that may involve over $2 billion in emergency spending.
The plan will include:
+ Money to deal with the costs of detaining, processing and caring for children and adults who enter the U.S. illegally
+ A “sustained border security surge” as well as what the President described as “an aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers”
+ A big increase in immigration judges and other federal help to expedite action on cases of recently detained illegal immigrants
+ Extra effort to work with Central American nations to stem the flow of migrants, especially unaccompanied children
Over the weekend, administration officials had floated a cost of over $2 billion, but a letter to Congressional leaders on Monday included no estimate of how much the Obama Administration would be asking Congress to approve.