EspañolOn Wednesday, US President Barack Obama called on lawmakers to take action on immigration reform “before the end of the year.” According to the Pew Research Center, immigration reform is a top priority for Hispanic voters in the United States.
“It is my profound preference and interest to see Congress act on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that can strengthen our borders, and streamline our immigration system,” Obama said during a press conference at the White House.
Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner responded to Obama’s comments by saying that using his presidential authority to reform the immigration system would be “inviting big trouble.”
“When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself,” he said. “He’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.”
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have failed repeatedly to reach an agreement over reforming the immigration system in a country with roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Following Obama’s 2012 reelection, the Republican National Committee (RNC) commissioned a report that stated the party “must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.”
Earlier this year, Obama weighed the possibility of taking executive action on immigration reform, despite the GOP’s warning against unilateral action.
Immigration reform advocates, however, remain skeptical over the president’s recent statements. “Details matter, and promises have been made before,” said Cristina Jimenez, managing director for the immigrants’ rights group United We Dream. “Our campaign to protect our communities will continue until the policy is changed in a way that includes our parents, families, and neighbors.”
“There is nothing until there is something,” said Marisa Franco, the lead organizer of the National Day Labor Organizing Network’s (NDLON) #Not1More campaign against deportations. “We’re not going to stop the pressure until we see the president follow through.”
President Obama met on Friday with Speaker Boehner and Senator Mitch McConell (R-KY), who takes over as Senate majority leader in January, to discuss immigration, among other issues.