Obama Chastises Congress for Failure on Immigration Reform, Vows to Go It Alone

President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about immigration reform from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington June 30, 2014. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Vowing to act alone amid deadlock on immigration reform, President Obama pinned the blame for the growing humanitarian crisis along the country’s southern border squarely on Congressional Republicans.

In a speech on Monday, Obama said he “held off on pressuring [House Republicans] for a long time,” in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement to address the 52,000 children who have crossed the border since last October, but met with “a year of obstruction.”

“Republicans in the House have refused to allow an up-or-down vote on any legislation to fix our broken immigration system,” he said.

The Attorney General and the Department of Homeland Security will “move available and appropriate resources from the interior to the border” to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis there, Obama said.

The President also took aim at critics of his use of executive power. “I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing,” he said. “Pass a bill. Solve a problem.”

In the meantime, Obama promised he would ask for recommendations from the Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security about what actions the White House can take on its own to ameliorate the immigration crisis. He said he expected those recommendations before the end of the summer and would act on them without delay.