President Obama announced Monday he's tired of waiting for Speaker John Boehner to act on immigration reform and that he intends to independently address the issue. Obama's White House announcement came just hours after he requested a funding increase from congress to deal with millions of children illegally crossing the border from South American countries.
"If House Republicans are upset about me taking too many executive actions, there's a solution: pass a bill," Obama said Monday, in reference to the long wait and arguably extreme measures the President has taken to deal with immigration over the last year. He pledged to pursue "a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress." He did not did not indicate what specific action he intends to take at this time.
The President complained about waiting for over a year for the House to act on immigration reform, specifically calling out Boehner. Speaker Boehner has said the House will not vote on an immigration bill this year and announced a lawsuit against the President's use of executive actions last week.
Earlier Monday, the President sent a surprise request to Congress asking for roughly $2 billion to deal with the influx of children attempting to cross the border illegally from South America. While children from Mexico can be deported fairly easily, immigrants who travel from as far as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are much more difficult and expensive.
The move will likely cause chaos on Capitol Hill, but could potentially force the House to finally deal with immigration reform. It's a catch-22 for politicians: vote to deport a bunch of children and solve a very real problem, or vote to deport a bunch of children and look heartless in the eyes of your constituents. Hard line immigration reform opponents will love it regardless. "...for many others, particularly Democrats and Republicans representing areas with large immigrant populations, the prospect of such a heart-wrenching vote could fuel arguments that the time has come for broader immigration reform," writes the LA Times' Lisa Mascaro and Brian Bennett.
The bulk of the President's letter to Congress, via Politico:
“While overall apprehensions across our entire border have only slightly increased during this time period and remain at near historic lows, we have seen a significant rise in apprehensions and processing of children and individuals from Central America who are crossing into the United States in the Río Grande Valley areas of the Southwest border,” Obama wrote to congressional leaders Monday. “The individuals who embark upon this perilous journey are subject to violent crime, abuse, and extortion as they rely on dangerous human smuggling networks to transport them through Central America and Mexico.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.