Unrepentant Obama Vows Immigration Executive Action This Year
Thursday, 06 Nov 2014 AP
He cast his executive actions as an inducement for Republicans to pass their own immigration bill.
"The best way, if folks are serious about getting immigration reform done, is going ahead and passing a bill and getting it to my desk. And then the executive actions that I take go away," he said.
Republicans led by McConnell pledged to use their newfound majorities to stop him.
"I hope he won't do that, because I do think it poisons the well for the opportunity to address a very important domestic issue," McConnell said in Louisville, Kentucky, as he celebrated a victory in his own Senate race and the GOP's capture of the Senate.
And a half-dozen GOP senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas, wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Wednesday urging him to quickly pass legislation to block Obama from taking executive action. Otherwise, the senators warned, they'll use "all procedural means necessary" to resolve what they called a constitutional crisis of Obama's making.
But Obama appeared in no mood for waiting. He had already angered Latinos and immigration advocacy groups this fall when he delayed executive action until after the election.
"What I'm not going to do is just wait," he said. "I think it's fair to say I've shown a lot of patience."
Immigration advocates made clear that their patience, too, was at an end.
"The election is over. Act boldly to bring relief to the millions facing deportation and family separation," Janet Murguia, head of National Council of La Raza, said at a news conference Wednesday. "The Hispanic community has waited too long and expects you to fulfill your promise."
White House officials say Obama, who is traveling to Asia and Australia next week, would not take any action until late November at the earliest and could wait until December.
Such decisions could determine whether the program affects as many as 3 million people or more, or fewer.
In an interview, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a leading immigration advocate, said anything fewer than 5 million to 8 million people would be insufficient. He and others argue that Obama's actions will infuriate Republicans no matter how many are affected.
"Half a loaf is going to be unsatisfactory to everyone," Gutierrez said.