Earnest: 'President Is as Determined As Ever' to Take Action on Immigration, No Timing Updates

Earnest: 'President Is as Determined As Ever' to Take Action on Immigration, No Timing Updates

White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest reiterated President Barack Obama’s intention to take action on immigration but did not have any updates on when such actions would take place.

“I don’t have an update in terms of timing,” Earnest told reporters Friday during the White House briefing.

Earnest referred back to Obama’s comments Thursday, in which he expressed a commitment to move forward with executive actions on immigration reform.

“You did hear from the President yesterday where he reiterated his strong commitment to take action within the scope of his authority to solve, or at least address so many of the problems that are created by our broken immigration system,” he said.

The White House press secretary went on to blame House Republicans for not moving on the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration bill — saying that Obama’s actions are taking place “in the context” of Republican intransigence on immigration reform.

“The President is as determined as ever to take that kind of action on his own simply because House Republicans have blocked the ability of Congress to try to solve this problem,” he said. 

Friday the Los Angeles Times reported that the White House is considering announcing his executive actions on immigration reform into two phases, with the more controversial of the announcements occurring after the midterm elections.

When pressed on the timing of the expected announcement Earnest said again that he did not have an updated timeframe and argued that such questions are premature. 

“To borrow a phrase that was used in a different context yesterday, that is putting the cart before the horse. The President hasn’t actually received the final recommendations from his attorney general and secretary of homeland security for what options are available to him for acting unilaterally to address some of the problems of our broken immigration system, so those who are speculating about how those recommendations might be implemented are a little ahead of themselves at this point,” he said. 

When asked about the political considerations the White House might be taking into account, Earnest said those suggesting such things are likely already critical of the administration. 

“There may be some people who are speculating that the president is making a political decision as it relates to immigration, I would put forward probably noncontroversial suggestion that those are probably people who are regular critics of the president. So I take that declaration with a grain of salt,” he said.