President Obama predicted that Congress would pass an immigration reform bill before the end of his presidency in a Univision Radio interview airing Friday.
“I believe it will get done before my presidency is over,” Obama president said. “I’d like to get it done this year.”
“The main thing people can do right now is put pressure on Republicans who have refused so far to act,” he said. “And I think sending a strong message to them that this is the right thing to do, it’s important to do, it’s the fair thing to do, and it will actually improve the economy and give people a chance.”
Obama also looked to deflate hopes that he could take executive actions to end deportations if Republicans don't move a bill.
“I’ve been able to prevent deportations of younger people with, the Dream Act kids, by administrative action,” he said. “But the problem is that’s just a temporary action that I’ve been taking. That’s not yet the law that’s been passed by Congress. And it doesn’t help their parents and others who are in the similar situations.”
While the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill in a bipartisan vote last year, efforts in the House have faltered.
Republican leaders began 2014 by outlining a series of principles that indicated they were open to pursuing immigration reform, but that momentum stalled when Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama had not demonstrated to Republican lawmakers “that he can be trusted to enforce the law as it was written.”
He accused Obama of changing his signature healthcare law “on a whim, whenever he likes” and said that his recent focus on executive actions was alienating lawmakers.
“Now he’s running around the country telling everyone that he’s going to keep acting on his own,” he continued. “He’s talking about his phone and his pen and he’s feeding more distrust about whether he’s committed to the rule of law. There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce the law. And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”