A day after President Barack Obama told a heckler that he did not have the power to end all deportations with an executive action, the White House did not rule out other executive actions Obama may use on immigration.
At a press gaggle on Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked if Americans should “take the President’s comments yesterday to mean he’s not going to do anything through executive action on immigration at all.”
“Well, I wouldn’t — I don’t want to speculate about what sort of actions the President might or might not take,” Earnest said. “But we have been very clear that the problem that the President is trying to solve here is one that can only be solved by Congress, and that that problem is an immigration system that everybody acknowledges is broken.”
Previously, Earnest was asked, “Are you going to kind of only look for a legislative solution here and not do anything through executive action?”
Well, I think the way that this typically comes up is in two ways. The first is, whether there is an opportunity to use executive action as a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform that’s moving through — that has passed the Senate and would pass the House if a vote were allowed on it. But right now, it’s stalled in the Senate because there is one faction of the Republican Party in the House that is blocking it.
The President is often asked whether or not there is an executive action that would substitute for that comprehensive immigration reform legislation — there is not. The other way in which the President gets asked about this is whether or not there is an executive action that he could take that would end all deportations. That is what the young man at the event in San Francisco yesterday seemed to be advocating for. And as I think the President said rather definitively, there is also not an executive action that would address all of the concerns that that young man had raised.
As Breitbart News has reported, immigration reform activists are pressuring Obama to extend the “deferred action” program, which allows “certain illegal immigrants who came to the country before their 16th birthday, are under 30 years of age, and who also meet various requirements to receive temporary work permits,” to apply to all of the country’s illegal immigrants. Other activists want the Obama administration to extend the program to the parents of “DREAMers.” Obama instituted the deferred action program via executive fiat in 2012.