President Obama stormed into the Rose Garden today and proclaimed he will overhaul the immigration system by executive action, doing as much as he thinks is legal without Congress.
The president, whose early-afternoon Rose Garden appearance was scheduled at the last minute, accused Republicans of kowtowing to the Tea Party and suggested that they don’t like “different cultures.”
House Republicans say they can no longer trust Obama to enforce laws as written and have informed him that they will not be sending him an immigration bill this year.
Obama was careful to frame his upcoming actions as coupled with an effort to secure the border, a task at which he has clearly failed.
So while I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act –- and I hope their constituents will too -– America cannot wait forever for them to act. And that’s why, today, I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress. As a first step, I’m directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to move available and appropriate resources from our interior to the border. Protecting public safety and deporting dangerous criminals has been and will remain the top priority, but we are going to refocus our efforts where we can to make sure we do what it takes to keep our border secure.
I have also directed Secretary Johnson and Attorney General Holder to identify additional 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. If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours. I expect their recommendations before the end of summer and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay . . .
It’s actually not Congress’ “job” to pass immigration legislation. It is their job to pass bills they think will help the country, and that doesn’t necessarily include legislation Obama wants or that he can alter to his liking after passage, as he has, for example, the Affordable Care Act.
The president is a victim of his own imperious approach to the presidency and his failure to cultivate ties with Congress. And now he’s kicking and screaming.
As if to prove that he is better at wrecking relationships that fostering them, Obama seemed to suggest that racism or bias were animating Republicans, accusing them of not appreciating the diversity brought about through immigration.
Throughout our history, we’ve come here in wave after wave from everywhere understanding that there was something about this place where the whole was greater than the sum of its parts; that all the different cultures and ideas and energy would come together and create something new.
We won this country’s freedom together. We built this country together. We defended this country together. It makes us special. It makes us strong. It makes us Americans. That’s worth celebrating. And that’s what I want not just House Republicans but all of us as Americans to remember.
It’s great to be lectured in this fashion. I feel like a better person already. Freed from my bigotry.
The president announced he will use July 4 to stage a political stunt at the White House, making citizens out of immigrants who served in the U.S. armed forces.
They were prepared to fight and die for an America they did not yet fully belong to. I think they’ve earned their stripes in more ways than one. And that’s why on Friday morning we’re going to naturalize them in a ceremony right here at the White House. This Independence Day will be their first day as American citizens.
There, that’ll show those Republican haters!