Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill are asking President Obama to avoid taking executive action on immigration reform after reports surfaced stating that the president was prepared to take such action as soon as next week.
In a press conference Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans on Capitol Hill would “fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path”, with RollCall.com reporting that Speaker Boehner would consider another government shutdown if the action were to be taken.
Even some lawmakers in the president’s own party are questioning the timing of the executive action. On Wednesday, soon-to-be-former Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters he would prefer for Congress to take on immigration reform after lawmakers reach a deal by the Dec. 11 deadline to keep the government funded.
“It’s up to him,” said Sen. Reid. “I’d like to get the finances of this country out of the way before he does it. But it’s up to him.”
Unlike Republicans, however, Sen. Reid said he did believe President Obama had the legal authority to issue such an executive action, saying in a statement released Wednesday that he “strongly support[s] the President’s use of his well-established authority to provide relief to families who continue to suffer under our broken immigration system. The President can and should act to provide this relief.”
According to the New York Times, President Obama’s executive action would allow roughly five million illegal immigrants to stay in the United States, with some of them receiving work permits. The Times writes:
“One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.”
If the president does issue the action in the coming weeks, it could set up a showdown over the Dec. 11 funding deadline. Both sides have already expressed the desire to pass a funding bill free of a government shutdown.