Obama: I Was Left ‘With Little Choice’ But to Take Executive Action on Immigration

June 23, 2016

President Obama said while addressing his immigration defeat Thursday that he was left with little choice but to take executive action on the matter in 2014 because Congress was not passing legislation to address it.

Obama’s comment came shortly after the Supreme Court revealed it was deadlocked in a 4-4 vote on a case challenging the president’s 2014 executive order on immigration, deferring the decision to Texas’s lower court, which blocked the immigration action.

The president held a press conference Thursday morning to discusses the Supreme Court outcome. He began by outlining his "common sense [immigration] bill" that did not pass in 2014 because of Republican opposition in the House of Representatives.

"Nearly 70 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together and passed a smart common sense bill that would have doubled the border patrol and offered undocumented immigrants a pathway to earn citizenship, if they paid a fine, paid their taxes and played by the rules," Obama said. "Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representative refused to allow a simple yes or no vote on that bill."

The president felt he was left with no choice but to use executive action to make sure the immigration system became "fair and more just."

"I was left with little choice but to take steps within my existing authority to make our immigration system smarter, fairer and more just," Obama said. "Four years ago, we announced that those who are our lowest priorities for enforcement., diligent, patriotic, young dreamers, who grew up pledging allegiance to our flag, should be able to apply to work here and study here and pay their taxes here."

"More than 730,000 lives have been changed as a result. These are students. They’re teachers. They’re doctors. They’re lawyers. They’re Americans in every way but on paper," Obama said.