White House and Republican leadership spar on immigration

Within days of Republicans gaining hold of the US Congress, the White House and Grand Old Party leadership appeared to be headed for confrontation over the crucial immigration reforms.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 08, 2014, 09:29 AM IST

Washington: Within days of Republicans gaining hold of the US Congress, the White House and Grand Old Party leadership appeared to be headed for confrontation over the crucial immigration reforms.

The White House yesterday said that President Obama is all set to take executive actions before the year-end to fix the broken immigration reform.

"The President made a promise that he's going to ask on immigration reform before the end of the year, and that's exactly what he's going to do," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

He, however, did not give any details of the forthcoming executive actions.

An estimated 11.7 million illegal immigrants, including several thousand Indians, were living in the US currently.

The Republican leadership, however, warned the White House against any such move.

Issuing a stern warning, Speaker of the House of Representative John Boehner said "Obama is going to burn himself" and "poison the well" if he goes down that path.

"The Speaker warned that unilateral action by the President on executive amnesty will erase any chances of doing immigration reform and will also make it harder for Congress and the White House to work together successfully on other areas where there might otherwise be common ground," said a statement issued by his office after Boehner met Obama yesterday.

During the meeting, top Republican Senator John Cornyn "made clear to the President that we should tackle immigration reform together on a step-by-step basis, beginning with border security and respect for the rule of law."

Unfortunately the President's promise to unilaterally go around Congress ignores the message voters sent on Election Day, he said.

"It is my sincere hope that he will reverse course and work with us ? not around us ? to secure the border and achieve real reforms to our immigration system," Cornyn said.

The White House appeared unfazed by the warning from Boehner and other Republican leaders.

"The one trump card that continues to exist is that House Republicans, if they want to prevent the president from taking executive action, could just bring up the compromise bipartisan Senate bill for a vote.

The President would happily sign that into law instead of signing any executive actions on immigration reform," Earnest said.

Senate has already passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill, which has been blocked by the Republican controlled House of Representatives.

Now that the Republicans enjoy majority in the Senate after Tuesday's elections, the chances of immigration reform passing through the Congress is slim.