President Barack Obama claimed he has been “restrained” on immigration and that his position on executive actions has not changed after he unilaterally granted temporary amnesty and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants.
On ABC’s This Week, Obama said that he has “been very restrained with respect to immigration” and has “bent over backwards and will continue to do everything I can to get Congress” to pass a more permanent and comprehensive executive amnesty bill.
When asked if his view of executive power has changed since he was a Senator, Obama replied, “it actually hasn’t.”
Not only has Obama previous said while president that he could not unilaterally act to stop all deportations because he is not a “king” or an “emperor,” then-Senator Obama blasted President George W. Bush in 2008 for his executive overreach.
“You know I taught constitutional law for 10 years, I take the Constitution very seriously,” he said in 2008. “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now had to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”
Obama, though, claimed that the “difference is the response of Congress” and suggested that his executive action had more legal authority because Congress did not pass a bill.
When asked to compare his executive action to those of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, both of whom acted in response to bills that Congress passed, Obama said, “I’m not sure that argues in favor.”
“If Congress acted specifically and left something out and then a President goes ahead right afterwards and does more than Congress agreed to, it’s actually not different,” he claimed. “It’s similar. The fact is is that we exercise prosecutorial discretion all the time.”