President Barack Obama stepped up the pressure on House Republicans Wednesday to take up immigration reform while his staff has sought to tamper speculation that he will take up independent executive action to reduce deportations of those here illegally.
Obama said in statement that there was still time for Republican leaders in the House to bring an immigration overhaul vote to the floor.
“Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform,” President Obama said in a statement Wednesday.
The statement comes a day after Obama met with faith leaders who support immigration reform. He told them he did not have plans to take independent action on an immigration overhaul, according to attendees.
Obama had asked Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson to review ways to reduce the number of people deported from the United States. But White House press secretary Jay Carney says those steps are different than implementing some kind of immigration overhaul on his own.
Cecilia Muñoz, a top Obama adviser, said told Fusion’s León Krauze that the White House’s focus is on Congress.
“What people are asking is that the president simply say he’s not going to enforce the law with respect to 8 million — 10 million people, which is more than your executive authority allows you to do,” she said. “The answer to this conundrum is, and has always been, legislation.”