GOP leaders say President Barack Obama will only make immigration problems worse if he goes ahead with his Monday threat to unilaterally alter the nation’s immigration laws.
“I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” Obama said in a Rose Garden speech Monday afternoon.
Deputies will identify “actions my administration can take on our own, within my existing legal authorities, to do what Congress refuses to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can,” he said.
“I expect their recommendations before the end of summer and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay,” he said.
House Speaker John Boehner was quick to condemn the move. “The president’s own executive orders have led directly to the humanitarian crisis along the Southern border,” Boehner said in a statement, “giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay.”
Since May, a surge of women, youths and children from Central America have crossed the U.S. border in the hope of establishing residency via immigration court.
Experts suggest they’re following a path created by Obama, who directed immigration officials to grant work permits to at least 560,000 younger illegals between June 2012 and late 2013.
The new flood of migrants is being called the “Dream Deluge” — advocates for greater immigration have repeatedly described younger illegals as “Dreamers.”
Border officials expect roughly 200,000 Central Americans will cross the border between October 2013 and October 2014.
“Additional executive action from this president isn’t going to stem the tide of illegal crossings, it’s only going to make them worse,” Boehner said.
Boehner’s slam of Obama follows the June 11 Virginia primary defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor by Dave Brat, who won his votes by attacking large-scale immigration reform as “crony capitalism.” Top GOP officials abandoned back-room efforts to pass an immigration-boosting bill after Cantor’s defeat.
Boehner’s response was matched by other GOP leaders.
“The crisis at the border is at least partially due to the Obama administration’s lack of enforcement and the President’s own policies,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, the top GOP senator on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.
“If the Obama administration rewards illegality and fails to enforce the laws or secure the border, we’re going to be back at this same place in 20 years,” he said.
“The administration has neglected our borders and precipitated the current crisis through its executive order,” said a statement from Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
“It’s disturbing that this President believes he can be a one man legislative branch when it comes to our immigration laws… he needs to work with Congress and listen to the Courts,” said Priebus. “Not go it alone. Again.”