President Barack Obama, reportedly giving up on the prospect of Congressional immigration reform, announced Monday that he plans to use executive actions to deal with the tide of illegal immigrants flowing over the U.S.’s southern border.
“If Congress will not do its job, at least we can do ours,” Obama said from the White House Rose Garden.
The President said that unilateral action was necessary, claiming that Republican lawmakers were afraid to stand up to the Tea Party faction of the GOP and address the immigration issue.
“While I will continue to push Republicans to drop excuses and act,” Obama said, “Americans cannot wait forever for them to act.”
“I don’t prefer taking administrative action,” the President also said. “I’ve made that clear multiple times … I only take executive action when we have a serious problem, a serious issue and Congress chooses to do nothing.”
Obama’s remarks came after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced last week that he would not lead Republicans in his legislative chamber into the immigration reform debate. Following the President’s Monday statement, Boehner called into question Obama’s leadership ability.
“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. “Until that changes it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue.”
Boehner went on to question the reasoning behind Obama’s decision to act unilaterally on immigration reform, charging that the current border crisis was the direct result of Obama’s policies.
“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.
“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.”
Last week, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois hinted that the President was planning to address immigration unilaterally, saying Thursday that Obama “will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”
“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration and he shouldn’t be sued as a result of it.”