With his time in the White House dwindling, President Obama is buckling down on immigration and considering a plan that would protect 5 million immigrants living in the country “illegally” from deportation.
That’s huge (and positive) news. But, as expected, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) isn’t too happy about the broad set of executive actions the president could announce as early as next week.
The speaker was asked at a press conference whether he believes that a government funding bill should include language to block the president from making sweeping changes to immigration policy, which Obama may do as soon as next week.
“We’re going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path. This is the wrong way to govern,” Boehner said. Later, he added, “All of the options are on the table. We’re having discussions with our members, and no decisions have been made as to how we will fight this if he proceeds.”
Boehner said in his press conference that their goal “is to stop the president from violating his own oath of office and violating the Constitution. It’s not to shut down the government.” He said House Republicans can find other ways, even beyond the government funding measures, to respond if Obama makes immigration changes without Congressional approval.
“If he wants to go off on his own, there are things he’s just not going to get,” Boehner said.
He’s not alone.
Fifty-nine House Republican members have signed on to a letter from Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) urging the head of the Appropriations Committee to include language in funding bills to block Obama’s executive action on immigration.
“As you know, the Congress has the power of the purse and should use it as a tool to prevent the President from implementing policies that are contrary to our laws and the desire of the American people,” the letter reads.
The Obama administration isn’t fazed. A senior official said Obama’s immigration announcement could come next week, but the president has not made a decision about the timing.
The 5 million estimate includes extending deportation protections to parents and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years. The president is also likely to expand his 2-year-old program that protects young immigrants from deportation.
Such a step would represent an expansive use of Obama’s executive authority. The step would fall shy of what many immigrant advocates have been demanding, but is sure to enrage Republicans who are already trying to devise ways to thwart his actions.
But Obama, aware of the attempts to shut him down, did say Friday that the battle could be avoided if comprehensive immigration legislation is passed.
“I would advise that if in fact they want to take a different approach, rather than devote a lot of time trying to constrain my lawful actions as the chief executive of the U.S. government in charge of enforcing our immigrations laws, that they spend some time passing a bill,” he said during a news conference in Yangon, Myanmar.
We’ll keep you updated on the showdown between the Republicans and Obama.
SOURCE: Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty