Saying he's received recommendations from the Justice Department and Homeland Security, President Barack Obama said he'll be "making an announcement soon" on executive actions he'll be taking on immigration.
Obama earlier this year tasked Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson with providing him suggestions on how he can reform the immigration system in the absence of any action from the Republican-controlled House. The Senate has passed a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for some 11 million immigrants residing in the U.S. illegally.
“Jeh Johnson and Eric Holder have begun to provide me some of their proposals,” Obama said at a press conference following a two-day NATO summit in Wales. “I'll be reviewing them. My expectation is that fairly soon I'll be considering what the next steps are.”
He added that the proposals from Holder and Johnson would take up part of his Air Force One reading time on the flight back to the U.S.
“I suspect on my flight back, this will be part of my reading, taking a look at some of the specifics that we've looked at and I'll be making an announcement soon,” Obama added.
Obama had been expected to act without congressional authorization by the end of the summer. News reports surfaced this week, however, suggesting he would wait until after the midterm elections, at some Democrats' request.
Obama said his “overriding preference is to see Congress act.”
“We had bipartisan action in the Senate. The House Republicans have sat on it for over a year,” Obama said. “That has damaged the economy. It has held America back. It is a mistake and in the absence of congressional action, I intend to take action to make sure that we're putting more resources on the border, that we're upgrading how we process these cases, and that we find a way to encourage legal immigration and give people some path so they can start paying taxes and pay a fine and learn English and be able to not look over their shoulder, but be legal.”