With President Barack Obama poised to unveil his plans to let millions of immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission stay and work here, Republicans -- and nonpartisan fact checkers -- are assailing him for a turnabout.
The Las Vegas Review reported Tuesday that Obama will travel there Friday and news reports suggested he will announce his plans to sign an executive order that would protect up to 5 million from deportation, as well as provide them with work permits.
FactCheck.org, labeling it as Obama’s “Immigration Amnesia,” and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, calling it a “flip-flop,” highlighted occasions in which Obama insisted he couldn’t implement some of the same immigration reforms he’s now considering.
In a Telemundo interview in Sept. 2013, for example, Obama said he if were to broaden the exception he made in 2012 for the children of undocumented immigrants, “then essentially, I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally.”
In a Feb. 2013 Google Hangout, he said he was “not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed, and Congress right now has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest sought to defend Obama’s position on Tuesday, arguing that Obama’s answers were often in response to calls to end deportations -- though that’s not what the fact checkers found. Earnest said Obama had eventually ordered up a review of existing immigration law to see “what authority he did have and to ensure that we were sort of leaving no stone unturned.”
House Speaker John Boehner’s office provided a tally, saying Obama had said 22 times that he “couldn’t ignore or create his own immigration law.”
“If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his Constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for Congressional action on this issue – and many others,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner said.
The White House wasn’t commenting on when Obama will make the announcement, but an email meant for activists,but also sent to reporters as well as activists, suggested a “prime time Thursday evening announcement (to preview) and full unveiling in Vegas on Friday.”
The e-mail from the AFL-CIO asks for activists to gear up for the announcement, asking if “watch parties”could be planed.
“Unclear whether Thursday night content will be what is "celebratory", but Friday will be where we need a lot of energy guaranteed,” the e-mail said.