President Barack Obama said Monday he would take more executive action on immigration reform in the face of House Republicans who won’t “pass a darn bill.”
Obama said he was redirecting resources to focus on securing the border, at a time when the U.S. is receiving a surge of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico.
“I don’t prefer taking administrative action,” Obama said, speaking in the White House Rose Garden. “I’d rather see permanent fixes to the issues we face. Certainly that’s true on immigration. I’ve made that clear. I would love nothing more than bipartisan legislaiton to pass the House, the Senate and land on my desk so I can sign it.”
Obama was not specific about the resources he was redirecting from the country’s interior, or whether that meant there would be a reduction in deportations.
“I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue and Congress chooses to do nothing,” Obama said. “In this situation, the failure of the 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 spoke shortly after the word that the House would not vote on immigration reform legislation.
The Senate passed legislation in June 2013 to create a pathway to citizenship while increasing border enforcement. Obama excoriated House Republicans for not passing legislation of their own.
“Our country and our economy would be stronger today if House Republicans had allowed a simple yes or no vote on this bill or for that matter any bill. They would be following the will of the majority of the American people to support reform,” Obama said. “Instead, they have proven again and again that they are unwilling to stand up to the Tea Party in order to do what’s best for the country. The worst part of is a bunch of them know better.”
Obama said he was seeking advice from Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on additional executive actions he could take “within my existing legal authority.”
Obama’s executive action comes after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Obama overreached on presidential appointments. Meanwhile, House Republicans are poised to take legal actions against prior presidential actions taken without congressional authorization.
Nevertheless, congressional Democrats have strongly urged Obama to take executive action on immigration if House Republicans didn’t act.
Last week, House Speaker John Boehner informed Obama that the House wouldn’t vote on an immigration bill.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blasted Obama’s announcement of taking more unilateral action.
“After being rebuked 13 times by a unanimous Supreme Court in just three years and with the House of Representatives filing a lawsuit to curb Obama’s presidential overreach, you’d think this administration would get the message. Our Constitution is not a list of suggestions. Our founders were not mistaken when they created three separate branches of government,” Priebus said in a statement.