Obama: I'll act on my own on immigration

(AP) - In the face of an unyielding Congress, President Barack Obama said Monday he will no longer wait for Republicans to act on immigration and will move on his own to make policy changes in what has

News 12 Staff

Jul 1, 2014, 9:08 PM

Updated 3,637 days ago

Share:

(AP) - In the face of an unyielding Congress, President Barack Obama said Monday he will no longer wait for Republicans to act on immigration and will move on his own to make policy changes in what has been a top second-term priority of his presidency.
Obama said he will refocus immigration enforcement onto a Mexican border that has seen a tide of children crossing illegally from Central America. That means putting resources into deporting people who are the most recent border-crossers or individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security.
"I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing," Obama said. "And in this situation, the failure of 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 said he decided to bypass Congress after House speaker John Boehner informed him last week that the House would not vote on an immigration overhaul this year. A congressional leadership aide said Obama and Boehner spoke privately before an event last week at the white House honoring U.S. golfers who won last year's Presidents Cup,
Obama said there are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House to pass an immigration bill today, and says he would sign it.
But Obama said he's waited for more than a year to give Boehner space to act.
Obama said the thousands of unaccompanied children showing up on the border underscore the need to drop the politics and act on immigration.
Obama's decision effectively declares that a broad based change in immigration policy is dead for the year, and perhaps for the remainder of his administration. Changing immigration laws and providing a path to citizenship for about 11 million immigrants in the country illegally has been one Obama's top priorities as he sought to conclude his presidency with major second-term victory.
Obama's ability to undertake changes on his own is limited.
He is instructing Homeland Security Department Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to present him with executive actions he can take without congressional approval by the end of the summer.
Still, in responding to the influx of unaccompanied children, Obama plans to concentrate immigration resources on the border areas. The move will effectively further reduce the number of deportations in the country's interior by stressing enforcement action on individuals who are either recent unlawful border crossers or who present a national security, public safety, or border security threat.
The decision coincides with a White House request to Congress for new powers to deport newly arrived immigrant children traveling without their parents.
As such, Obama's actions represent a delicate balancing act between responding to what the White House has called a "humanitarian crisis" over unaccompanied children and a demand from immigration activists to reduce the administration's record number of deportations.
Deportations have spiked under the Obama administration to a total of around 2 million so far - the same number removed during the full eight years of the Bush administration. At the same time, formal removals from the interior have decreased each year of the Obama administration, while the number of deportations from the border has increased.
The Obama administration also has taken steps already to focus deportations on people with more serious criminal records or those who pose a threat. But this so-called "prosecutorial discretion," while harshly criticized by Republicans, never succeeded in calming concerns in immigrant communities about how deportations are conducted.
Obama on Monday was dropping by a meeting at the White House among immigration overhaul advocates and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Many of those advocates reacted harshly to Obama's plan Monday to seek emergency money from Congress that would, among other things, help conduct "an aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers."


More from News 12
0:21
Stratford FD extinguishes boat fire on Long Island Sound

Stratford FD extinguishes boat fire on Long Island Sound

2:00
Father’s Day stunner: Temperatures in the 70s with sun and some clouds

Father’s Day stunner: Temperatures in the 70s with sun and some clouds

0:26
Authorities: New Fairfield man turned off power to apartment, interfered with 'vital' medical equipment

Authorities: New Fairfield man turned off power to apartment, interfered with 'vital' medical equipment

1:23
Stamford holds its 4th annual Juneteenth celebration

Stamford holds its 4th annual Juneteenth celebration

3:41
‘I am different.’ How a Trumbull boy and his mom are changing curious stares into smiles

‘I am different.’ How a Trumbull boy and his mom are changing curious stares into smiles

0:46
Customers revel in Stamford's Arts & Crafts on Bedford

Customers revel in Stamford's Arts & Crafts on Bedford

Is your dad awesome? Connecticut tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? Connecticut tell us why your dad rocks!

2:04
Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove common skin cancer; urges fans to get checked

Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove common skin cancer; urges fans to get checked

0:13
Officials: Lighting strike causes fire at Bridgeport apartment building

Officials: Lighting strike causes fire at Bridgeport apartment building

2:24
Connecticut prepares for upcoming heat wave next week

Connecticut prepares for upcoming heat wave next week

2:33
SILVER LINING: Swimmer from Darien recalls tragic shark attack in Turks and Caicos

SILVER LINING: Swimmer from Darien recalls tragic shark attack in Turks and Caicos

2:35
Supreme Court bump stock ruling won't impact CT ban

Supreme Court bump stock ruling won't impact CT ban

Alex Jones’ personal assets to be sold to pay $1.5B Sandy Hook debt. Company bankruptcy is dismissed

Alex Jones’ personal assets to be sold to pay $1.5B Sandy Hook debt. Company bankruptcy is dismissed

0:14
Police: Goshen man dies after crashing into a tree in Torrington

Police: Goshen man dies after crashing into a tree in Torrington

0:45
Gov. Lamont announced over 26 million for remediation and development to properties across Connecticut

Gov. Lamont announced over 26 million for remediation and development to properties across Connecticut

0:56
 Free jazz concert for Bridgeport seniors to be held next Thursday

Free jazz concert for Bridgeport seniors to be held next Thursday

3:03
'Truly incredible.' Staples High School club 3D prints prosthetics for people in need

'Truly incredible.' Staples High School club 3D prints prosthetics for people in need

0:22
Police: Over 75 pounds of marijuana found during shooting investigation in Milford

Police: Over 75 pounds of marijuana found during shooting investigation in Milford

0:47
Michelle Troconis' family releases statement 2 weeks after her sentencing

Michelle Troconis' family releases statement 2 weeks after her sentencing

0:47
Monroe Congregational Church's 52nd annual Strawberry Festival is this weekend. Here's what you need to know!

Monroe Congregational Church's 52nd annual Strawberry Festival is this weekend. Here's what you need to know!