House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday that any unilateral steps by President Barack Obama on immigration will make matters worse and increase a “legacy of lawlessness.”
“No more unilateral action through the president,” Boehner said at a news conference.
“If the president takes these actions, he’ll be sealing the offer on his legacy of lawlessness,” he said. “He’ll be violating the solemn oath he earned to the American people on the day of his inauguration.”
Boehner said the House planned to vote Thursday on legislation that will stop Obama from expanding his 2012 action to suspend deportations of kids brought to the United States before mid-2007 by their parents.
The House has passed legislation that tried to shut down the 2012 policy, which Republicans connect to the influx of children coming to the southwestern U.S. border with Mexico.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said earlier within the day that the president is acting on their own because Boehner has refused to put to some vote an immigration reform bill that passed the Senate.
“The question for that president is, are we just likely to sort of allow the country to become stuck just because congressional Republicans are blocking everything?” Earnest said within an interview on MSNBC.
“Or may be the president going to use the authority that’s vested within the Constitution in the executive branch to try and solve some of the problems that congressional Republicans won’t permit the country to try to address?” Earnest said.
The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are performing a review to see what steps the president can legally take.
The president has pushed for reform that will create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants inside the United States. The Senate bill had such provisions, but Republicans within the House largely opposed them as amounting to amnesty for people who entered the nation illegally.
Faced with an adversarial Congress, president Obama has taken a number of unilateral actions to further his agenda. This has led Republicans to say Obama is exceeding the limits of his office. Boehner said Obama’s actions were “sacrificing the integrity in our laws on the altar of political opportunism” and really should be held accountable.
“The president’s support is slipping and that he and his party are desperate to motivate their base once we move toward the November elections,” Boehner said.