President Obama spoke at a press conference at the White House Rose Garden to address mounting pressure over immigration reform and a humanitarian crisis at the border. He made clear that despite some support, there will be no vote on crucial comprehensive immigration reform—and continued to blame some Republicans for stalling a bill. Obama’s administration, meanwhile, has deported more people than another other in the history of the United States.
Obama stressed that if Congress can’t move forward on immigration reform, he’d be forced to take administrative action. The only clear plan he laid out today, however, was to increase enforcement at the border.
Pablo Alvarado, who leads the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, made a short statement in response to Obama’s remarks:
This is a pivotal moment in the movement for migrant rights. What comes next will be defining moment for the President and for the country. In de-linking his immigration policy from his legislative reform strategy, the President is now free to do the right thing, and he can fulfill the promise of being a transformative president.
The President’s enforcement-first strategy and his misguided deportation policy were premised on the possibility of legislative reform, but it is now very clear Congress itself is broken.
We fully expect the President to maximize use of existing authority to ameliorate the injustice of the status quo, and we pledge to work with the administration to fend off the attacks from nativists that will surely come, if and when, he does the right thing. Until then we will continue to escalate opposition to unnecessary and unjust deportations.
Obama, who also highlighted a Fourth of July naturalization ceremony this Friday at the White House, says he’ll be looking to take more action in the coming months. For now, however, he will certainly increase enforcement at the border.