Obama says he 'bent over backwards' on immigration reform
US President Barack Obama on Sunday said he "bent over backwards" over the immigration reform, so as to give the Congress and in particular the Republican leadership, an opportunity to help fix the broken system.
Washington: US President Barack Obama on Sunday said he "bent over backwards" over the immigration reform, so as to give the Congress and in particular the Republican leadership, an opportunity to help fix the broken system.
"If you look at the history, I have issued fewer executive actions than most of my predecessors, by a longshot. The difference is the response of Congress. Specifically the response of some of Republicans," Obama told the ABC News in an interview.
His comments came days after he issued a series of executive actions on immigration reform.
The Republicans, which now has the majority in both the Senate and the House, has been very critical of his executive actions on this.
"If you ask historians, take a look at the track records of the modern presidency, I've actually been very restrained. And I've been very restrained with respect to immigration. I bent over backwards and will continue to do everything I can to get Congress to work. Because that's my preference," Obama said.
The executive action, benefits some five of the 11 million undocumented workers.
"The Speaker this morning says your acting like an emperor and you're damaging the presidency. Your response?" he was asked.
"Well, my response is pass a bill. You heard me out there today and you heard me yesterday. The truth is that the Senate did a good job in crafting a bipartisan bill that would have greatly improved our immigration system, and my preference is for a legislative solution to this problem," Obama said.
"It didn't happen because the Speaker would not call the bill for a vote in the House. And he still has several weeks to call that bill in the House or he can work with me and Democrats to craft a new bill," he said.
Obama acknowledged that the immigration reform has not solved the entire problem.
"What is absolutely true is that we couldn't solve the entire problem and still can't solve the entire problem. But what we can do is to prioritise felons, criminals, recent arrivals, folks who are coming right at the border, and acknowledge that if somebody's been here for over five years, they may have an American child or a legal permanent resident child, it doesn't make sense for us to prioritise them when we know that we need more resources," he said.
Obama said if Congress acted specifically and left something out and then a President goes ahead right afterwards and does more than Congress agreed to, it's actually not different.
"It's similar. The fact is that we exercise prosecutorial discretion all the time," he said.