Obama Predicts Exec Amnesty Will Be ‘Major’ 2016 Issue, Hopes GOP Will Start Conversation on Immigration Reform

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

On Monday, President Barack Obama predicted that his executive amnesty will be a “major” issue in the 2016 presidential election and said he hoped Republicans can again start the conversation about the need for comprehensive amnesty legislation.

“I suspect it will be a major topic in the next presidential campaign,” Obama said of his executive amnesty at a press conference following the G7 Summit in Germany.

Trying to gin up the Latino vote, Hillary Clinton has already vowed “to go even further” than Obama on executive amnesty and called for a “full and equal path” to citizenship for all of the country’s illegal immigrants. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has said that it makes no sense to deny amnesty to illegal immigrants and vowed to take on comprehensive amnesty legislation in his first 100 days in office.

Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has vowed to overturn Obama’s executive amnesty. And former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, following the lead of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), have started the conversation about reducing the number of legal immigrants the country admits until the economic conditions improve for American workers and legal immigrants who are already in the country.

A recent Pew Research poll found that a whopping 70% of Americans do not want more immigrants. And a Gallup poll earlier in the year found that only 7% of Americans wanted an increase in immigration levels in a country that already has the world’s most generous immigration policies.

Obama, though, said that his executive amnesty “will never fully replace the need for Congress to act” and said that “one really great way to solve this problem” would be for the GOP-led Congress to pass a comprehensive amnesty bill.

“My hope is that after a number of the other issues that we’re working on currently get cleared, that there is some quiet conversations that start up back again, particularly on the Republican party about the short-sighted approach they are taking when it comes to immigration,” Obama said.

As Breitbart News has noted, “even though the GOP took back Congress by opposing President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and without passing the comprehensive amnesty bill that the Republican National Committee’s ‘autopsy’ report said the party had to support after the 2012 election, establishment Republicans are still convinced that the party must do something on immigration before 2016.” Outlets like US News & World Report have written in recent days that there are indeed “signs of life for immigration reform” this year. The same cast of establishment Republicans who are trying to enable Obamatrade may work with Democrats later in the year to try to pass piecemeal legislation, including a bill that would greatly increase H-1B visas for foreign guest workers in the technology industry even though the country has a proven surplus–not a shortage–of technology workers.

Obama also admitted on Monday that he was “frustrated by a district court ruling” that blocked his executive amnesty, which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift last month. The Obama administration appealed the injunction, and oral arguments for that case have been scheduled for the week of July 6. Obama said that his administration is “being as aggressive as we can” in challenging the injunction and “to implement those elements of immigration executive actions that were not challenged in court.”

Obama also said he ultimately made the decision not to accept applications for his new round of executive amnesty until the legal status of his executive amnesty is resolved. The Department of Homeland Security reportedly suspended its plans to hire thousands of workers to enact Obama’s executive amnesty.

“The United States is a government of laws and a separations of powers,” said Obama, who bypassed Congress to enact his unilateral executive amnesty. “Even if it’s an individual district court judge who’s making this determination, we’ve got to go through the process to challenge it. And until we get clarity there, I don’t want to bring people in, have them apply and jump through a lot of hoops only to have it deferred and delayed further.”

Obama again claimed that his executive amnesty “is well within my legal authority, the Department of Homeland Security’s legal authority,” and he declared that “administratively, we’ll be prepared if and when we get the kind of ruling that I think we should have gotten in the first place” to implement his executive amnesty.