Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBen Shapiro: No prominent GOP figure ever questioned Obama's legitimacy The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump tries to reassure voters on economy 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 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 Diane Rodham ClintonThe exhaustion of Democrats' anti-Trump delusions Poll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado Soft levels of support mark this year's Democratic primary 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.