During his press conference in Germany, the President also weighed in on immigration, explaining that DAPA beneficiaries would have a “legal status.”
“Obviously I am frustrated by a district court ruling that is now winnowing its way through the appeals process. We are being as aggressive as we can legally to first and foremost appeal that ruling, and then implement those portions of immigration executive action that were not challenged in court. But obviously, the centerpiece was being able to get folks who were undocumented to go through a background check, pay back taxes, and then have a legal status.
He added, once again knocking Judge Hanen’s ruling:
“I am absolutely convinced this is well within my legal authority. . . . The United States is a government of law, and separations of power, and even if an individual district court judge made this determination, we have to go through the process to challenge it.
The President also weighed in on the decision not to seek a stay.
Until we get clarity there, we don’t want to bring people in, have them apply, and jump through a lot of hoops, only to have it delayed further.
He also said immigration will be a “major topic of the next Presidential campaign.” This somewhat confirms my suspicion that he is willing to let the DAPA challenge spill over into the next election as a wedge issue for Democrats.
The President suggests how the Court should rule.
“We will be prepared if and when we get the kind of ruling that I think we should have gotten in the first place about our authorities.”
Update: Here are the full remarks:
Oh, immigration. With respect to immigration, obviously, I’m frustrated by a district court ruling that now is winding its way through the appeals process. We are being as aggressive as we can legally to, first and foremost, appeal that ruling, and then to implement those elements of immigration executive actions that were not challenged in court.
But, obviously, the centerpiece, one of the key provisions for me was being able to get folks who are undocumented to go through a background check — criminal background check — pay back taxes, and then have a legal status. And that requires an entire administrative apparatus and us getting them to apply and come clean.
I made a decision, which I think is the right one, that we should not accept applications until the legal status of this is clarified. I am absolutely convinced this is well within my legal authority, Department of Homeland Security’s legal authority. If you look at the precedent, if you look at the traditional discretion that the executive branch possesses when it comes to applying immigration laws, I am convinced that what we’re doing is lawful, and our lawyers are convinced that what we’re doing is lawful.
But the United States is a government of laws and separations of power, and even if it’s an individual district court judge who’s making this determination, we’ve got to go through the process to challenge it. And until we get clarity there, I don’t want to bring people in, have them apply and jump through a lot of hoops only to have it deferred and delayed further.
Of course, there’s one really great way to solve this problem, and that would be Congress going ahead and acting, which would obviate the need for executive actions. The majority of the American people I think still want to see that happen. I suspect it will be a major topic of the next presidential campaign.
And so we will continue to push as hard as we can on all fronts to fix a broken immigration system. Administratively, we’ll be prepared if and when we get the kind of ruling that I think we should have gotten in the first place about our authorities to go ahead and implement. But ultimately, this has never fully replaced the need for Congress to act. And my hope is, is that after a number of the other issues that we’re working on currently get cleared, that some quiet conversations start back up again, particularly in the Republican Party, about the shortsighted approach that they’re taking when it comes to immigration.