WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is standing by his pledge to act on his own to reduce deportations and improve border security by the end of the year. Obama says he will take his own steps despite election results that gave Republicans control of Congress.
He says he prefers congressional action but that he has shown patience and has tried to work in a bipartisan fashion.
Obama says if Congress acts, his executive actions will go away. Republicans say any action will poison relations with the White House.
Obama angered Latinos and immigration advocacy groups earlier this year when he delayed any executive action until after the election. Any action Obama takes will likely reduce the number of deportations and grant work permits to millions of immigrants illegally in the United States.
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, in line to be the next majority leader, says it would be a “mistake” for President Barack Obama to take unilateral action on immigration.
McConnell says he spoke with President Barack Obama on Wednesday and says he looks forward to finding areas where Republicans and Democrats can agree, specifically citing trade agreements and rewriting the tax code. But he says any executive action that Obama might take to address the nation’s immigration system would only antagonize Republicans.
Speaking to reporters in his native Kentucky, McConnell says the new Republican majority in the Senate wants to take action on immigration.
Republicans captured control of the Senate from Democrats in Tuesday’s elections and expanded their majority in the House.