Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said Thursday that he believes Obama finally decided to act on his own on immigration — after saying for years that he couldn't — because Obama evolved on the question of how much power he has.
Speaking on Fox News, Gutierrez said he believes Obama really wanted a legislative deal on immigration with Congress, and that this goal made him dismiss the idea of doing something through an executive action.
"When you want, and you're so focused on the legislative process and working with Republicans in a bipartisan way, he put other alternatives to the side," Gutierrez explained.
Republicans have charted the 22 times Obama has said in public that he can't act alone. When Gutierrez was asked what could have changed obamas mind, Gutierrez chalked it up to evolution.
"To me, it was a natural evolution in the decision-making the process," he said.
Obama has "evolved" before on other issues, such as gay marriage. In 2004, he said he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but by 2010, he said his feelings on same-sex marriage were "constantly evolving."
In 2011 he said, "I'm still working on it," but in 2012, he said he supported gay marriage, after Vice President Joe Biden said he supports it.
Obama appears to have evolved much more quickly on immigration, possibly in just a matter of weeks. Obama said as late as August of this year that he can't move ahead to impose his preferred changes to immigration policy without congressional say-so.
"There are some things we can't do," he said on August 6. "Congress has the power of the purse, for example. … Congress has to pass a budget and authorize spending. So I don't have a green light."
Despite those words, the Obama administration has already made plans to hire 1,000 new workers in Northern Virginia to process claims under his executive action on immigration. That has prompted some Republicans to say Obama has decided how to spend millions of dollars on the program that was never approved by Congress.