Former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonRace still matters in presidential pardons Poll: Trump's pre-inauguration approval rating half as high as Obama's Poll: Obama leaves office with 58 percent favorability MORE suggested President Obama was on "pretty firm legal ground" for his executive action plans on immigration, a move previous presidents have made.

"As far as I can tell, every president in the modern era has issued some executive action on immigration, so I imagine he'll be on pretty firm legal ground," Clinton said at a gala for The New Republic magazine's centennial celebration.

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Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush extended amnesty to family members excluded from the last overhaul of U.S. immigration policy in 1986, according to The Associated Press.

Clinton's remarks come on the eve of Obama's prime-time address Thursday evening, where he's expected to shield about 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

The former president jokingly told the crowd that nobody cares what he has to say unless his wife, Hillary, might run for office.

During the election cycle, some Democrats wondered whether Obama's inaction on immigration would hurt Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump could mean new momentum for drug imports Trump puts pressure on GOP Congress Poll: Former Sanders staffer gains steam in race to replace Xavier Becerra MORE's presidential chances in 2016. The former secretary of State says she won't make a decision about a 2016 presidential bid before the end of the year.