U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson and John Lewis joined 114 other Democratic congressmen Thursday in signing a letter that calls on President Barack Obama to take “bold and meaningful executive action” on immigration.
“As you have said, it is ultimately the job of Congress to reform our broken immigration system by enacting legislation,” their letter tells Obama. “But by failing to do their job — and repeatedly interfering with your efforts to do your job — congressional Republicans threaten to take our immigration system hostage and preserve a status quo that everyone agrees is unacceptable. Their failure to act must not inhibit your commitment to governing.”
With immigration overhaul legislation stalled in Congress, Obama has said he would act unilaterally by the end of this year. Observers have speculated the president will expand a program granting deportation deferrals and work permits to millions of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. Republican congressional leaders have warned Obama against doing that.
“If he acts unilaterally, on his own — outside of his authority — he will poison the well, and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving in this Congress,” Republican House Speaker John Boehner said last week.