Pushback over reported Obama plan to block deportations
US Republicans were left seething Thursday over growing expectation that President Barack Obama may soon act unilaterally to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Washington: US Republicans were left seething Thursday over growing expectation that President Barack Obama may soon act unilaterally to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The New York Times, citing administration officials, said Obama`s possible deportation curbs could begin as early as next week.
The effort, which some Republicans brand "executive amnesty," would include up to five million undocumented people living in the United States for at least five years.
The potential action follows the midterm election thrashing that Obama`s Democrats received last week from Republicans, most of whom are deeply opposed to the president acting unilaterally on immigration.
With political heat rising on the divisive issue, 63 House Republicans wrote a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders calling for language to be inserted into upcoming must-pass federal spending legislation that would "clearly prohibit the use of appropriated funds for the president`s immigration machinations."
House Speaker John Boehner strongly warned Obama that "all options are on the table," including using the power of the purse.
"We`re going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path," Boehner told reporters.
"This is the wrong way to govern. This is exactly what the American people said on election day they didn`t want."
Inserting the controversial language into a crucial budget bill could provoke a Democratic block or an Obama veto, heightening the risk of a government shutdown.
"Our goal here is to stop the president from violating his own oath of office and violating the Constitution," Boehner said, referring to how Republicans see some Obama executive actions as illegal.
"It`s not to shut down the government."
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader in waiting, joined in the criticism.
"The president has been told over and over and over again -- and we`re telling him again today -- don`t do this because his executive actions are not permanent changes," McConnell said.
Instead, he added, Obama should "work with us to try to find a way to improve our immigration system."
Obama`s move would allow many parents of children who are US citizens or legal residents to obtain work permits, thereby eliminating the deportation threat.
"The president is nearing a final decision," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Naypyidaw during Obama`s Myanmar visit.
"I would anticipate that the president will receive some final recommendation relatively soon but certainly not before the end of this trip," he said. Obama`s Asia tour ends Sunday.
The White House backed a bipartisan comprehensive reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013 but stalled in the House of Representatives.
Obama`s executive orders would not need action from Congress, where both chambers will be controlled by Republicans beginning in January.
The day after the November 4 election, Obama said he would act before year end to improve the immigration system.
Senate Republican John McCain, who helped craft the Senate bill, sought to nudge Obama toward a delay to allow lawmakers to propose reforms.
"Just wait, Mr President," McCain pleaded. "Give us a few months to see whether we move forward on it or not."