President Barack Obama Defends Delay in Immigration Executive Order
President Barack Obama has delayed announcing any potential executive action on immigration until after November's midterm elections. According to Obama, the reason for the delay was not to benefit Senate Democrats hoping to hold onto their narrow majority in the chamber.
Obama said he has been "consistent" about why immigration is important, adding, "The country's going to be better off if we have an immigration system that works, that has strong border security, that has streamlined our legal immigration system, so the best and the brightest that want to stay here and invest here and create jobs here can do so."
During an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Obama said families can be unified and an immigration system where the millions of people who are in the U.S., "in many cases for a decade or more who have American kids," can have a path to legal status "by paying taxes," "paying a fine" and learning English, "if they have to."
Obama said, "The good news is we have bipartisan support for that. We have a Senate bill that would accomplish that. The House Republicans refused to do it, and what I said to them was 'If you do not act on something that's so common sense that has you got labor, business, evangelicals, law enforcement, you got folks across the board supporting it, then I'm going to look for all the legal authorities that I have to act.'"
According to the president, Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has laid the "ground work" by presenting preliminary ideas of how to implement an executive action, but Obama wants to make sure "[We] get it right."
Obama noted the number of apprehended people at the border has declined during the past decade. The president disclosed that politics did "shift" because of the increased number of unaccompanied, undocumented immigrant children this summer, but the rate of arrivals has slowly decreased as summer progressed.
"What I want to do is when I take executive action, I want to make sure it's sustainable ... What I'm saying is I'm going to act because it is the right thing for the country, but it's going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration, what we've done on unaccompanied children and why it's necessary."
During the interview, the president expressed that he needs time to ensure there won't be problems with any potential executive action and that Americans understand why his administration would make such decisions, as well as "why it's the right thing for the American people, why it's the right thing for the American economy."
As Latin Post reported, Senate Democrats have voiced concern over potential executive action by Obama. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, said he preferred Obama announce any executive order after November, while Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said he has "concerns" regarding any executive action.
At the southern U.S. border, DHS' Customs and Border Protection announced the agency has seen an increase in unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America. The CBP revealed 62,997 unaccompanied immigrant minors, aged 17 and younger, were apprehended between Oct. 2013 and July 2014.
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