White House: Obama has ‘no choice but to act’ on immigration

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday that because of inaction by Congress on immigration, President Obama must act alone on the issue and will decide by the end of the summer exactly which steps he will take.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Pfeiffer said Obama is waiting to receive recommendations from Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson before he proceeds. Pfeiffer said that whatever Obama chooses to do will "not be a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform" — which has remained stalled in Congress.

Pfeiffer's comments come two days after Obama set the stage for taking action on immigration.

"I'm going to have to act alone," Obama said, adding that resources have gone dry with the lack of legislation. "We've run out of money."

The House late Friday passed two measures aimed at combating the surge of migrant women and children at the southwestern border, but neither was likely to be law. Pfeiffer said that because of Congress's "failure to pass" comprehensive immigration legislation and a measure on the border crisis that will survive, Obama must do it on his own.

"The president has no choice but to act," Pfeiffer said.

He said whatever the president chooses to do will be "within the confines of the law."

"The limiting principle is the law," Pfeiffer said. "The president asked specifically what he can do under the law."

Pfeiffer said Obama's decision on how to act will come "at the end of the summer."


"I'm going to have to act alone," Obama said, referring to the deadlock over how to resolve the border crisis. "We've run out of money." (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley," Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) continued to chastise the Obama administration, saying it was doing little to secure the southern border and deal with the influx of minors. Perry last month announced that he is sending 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the border. He said Sunday that he is prepared to deploy teams from other state agencies, including the Texas Rangers and the Department of Public Safety, at the border.

"I think that's what the American people want. They'd like to see a president who leads this country and says — You know what, we do have a problem on our southern border.  We're going to deal with it," Perry said. "And the president refuses to lead on this, from my perspective."

Perry said the tide of children coming to the border is a "tragedy." But lost amid that, he said, is the "80 percent-plus of individuals who don't get talked about enough that are coming into the United States illegally and committing substantial crimes."

Perry said this group is responsible for thousands of homicides and sexual assaults. Host Candy Crowley said the homicide figures have been found to be "wildly off," but Perry said he stands by them.

"What are the number of homicides that are acceptable to those individuals? How many sexual assaults do we have to have before the president of the United States and Washington, D.C., acts to keep our citizens safe?" he asked.

Perry said the number of people at the southern border being apprehended from countries that have "substantial terrorist ties," including Pakistan and Syria, are at "historic record highs."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said he agreed with Perry.

"A porous southern border is now on the advertising list of people who want to do nefarious things to the United States," he said. 

Perry said he will continue to "do what we have to do" to keep people safe, and he said Washington should do the same.

"We say it's time to secure the border. Hasn't got anything to do with anything, other than the American citizens expect Washington to respect the Constitution and secure the border, one of the things that's actually enumerated in the Constitution," Perry said. "We'd like for them to do their duty."

Katie Zezima covers the White House for Post Politics and The Fix.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics
Next Story
Katie Zezima · August 3