President Barack Obama on Monday blamed Republican inaction on immigration reform for escalating problems, including a surge of undocumented children crossing the border from Mexico, CNN reported. The administration will use executive powers to take action without Congress, Obama said.
At a hastily scheduled Rose Garden appearance, Obama said Speaker of the House John Boehner told him last week that the House's GOP majority will continue blocking a vote on a Senate-passed immigration bill.
In response, Obama said he was starting "a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress."
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder will "identify additional actions my administration can take within my existing legal authorities, to do what Congress refuses to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can," the president said.
Conservative Republicans oppose the Senate plan passed last year with support from both parties because it includes a pathway to legal status for immigrants living illegally in the United States.
They also fear that such a measure would bolster already strong Democratic support among Hispanic Americans, the nation's largest minority. For his part, Boehner said Monday that Republicans don't trust Obama to enforce laws they might pass.
"Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue," he said in a statement after Obama spoke. "The crisis at our southern border reminds us all of the critical importance of fixing our broken immigration system."