A day after Senate Democrats blocked the House’s Homeland Security funding bill for the fourth time to protect President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and the Obama administration asked a federal judge to stay his “misguided” injunction against it, Obama vowed to defend his executive amnesty “with every tool at our disposal.”
In a Tuesday op-ed in The Hill, Obama noted that while the injunction “temporarily prevents my administration from accepting individuals’ requests” for temporary amnesty, “it does not impact the original 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program offering relief from deportation to young Dreamers. Those who became eligible to seek temporary relief under the 2012 policy can still submit an initial or renewal request.”
Obama claimed that his executive amnesty is “good for our economy” even though millions of illegal immigrants will be receiving work permits and argued that his executive amnesty was consistent with steps taken by other presidents even though previous presidents, unlike Obama, were clarifying legislation that Congress had passed.
Though Obama has tried to push comprehensive amnesty legislation, a sweeping amnesty bill could not pass Congress–just like the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill failed–because of widespread public opposition. Obama said that he continues to believe that his executive amnesty is “no substitute for congressional action” and revealed that it was his hope that “a new, Republican-led Congress would seek to govern responsibly by supporting commonsense solutions to one of our country’s greatest challenges, just like President Bush and Sen. John McCain tried to nearly a decade ago.”
“Instead, we’ve seen a series of votes to deport Dreamers, young people who are American in every way except on paper,” he said. “We’ve even heard irresponsible threats to shut down the Department of Homeland Security, the very agency tasked with securing our borders and keeping Americans safe in a time of new threats, for no reason other than partisan disagreement over my actions.”
Obama also assured most illegal immigrants that they will not be deported, declaring that the “majority of the steps I took last year” to ease deportations for illegal immigrants who are not violent criminals “will continue moving forward” and “immigration agents will continue to refocus our limited enforcement resources on felons, not families.” He also declared that he is “confident that all the steps I’ve taken on my own to fix our broken immigration system will eventually be implemented.”
“We have focused on securing our borders, and today the resources that the Department of Homeland Security dedicates to the southwest border are at an all-time high,” he claimed. “Since I took office, apprehensions at the border — a key measure of illegal crossings — are at their lowest level since the 1970s, and the number of undocumented individuals living in the U.S. has stopped growing for the first time in decades.”
Obama noted that he first went around Congress in 2012 to enact his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but did not mention that that executive amnesty caused a drastic spike in the number of illegal immigrant juveniles from Central America who were apprehended at the border last summer.
Obama, though, claimed that his most recent executive amnesty “will help us secure the border, prioritize scarce resources, and hold millions of undocumented immigrants accountable by requiring them to pass background checks and pay taxes in order to have a chance to temporarily remain here without fear of deportation.” He did note that illegal immigrants will qualify for tax credits and refunds for having worked illegally and the fiscal impact his executive amnesty would have on the states.
“It’s time to end the era of manufactured crises, put politics aside and focus on doing what’s best for America. So while I will fight any attempt to turn back the progress we’ve made or break up families across our country, I welcome the opportunity to work with anyone who wants to build on the improvements we’ve put in place, and fix our broken immigration system once and for all,” Obama wrote. “Throughout our history, America’s tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants has continually shaped us for the better. If we renew that tradition, and build upon it for future generations, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.”
Obama will participate in an immigration town hall on Wednesday with MSNBC and Telemundo to pressure Republicans to pass an unencumbered Homeland Security bill before Friday’s deadline.