The White House had indicated that President Barack Obama planned to announce a series of executive actions on immigration around Labor Day. But some immigration advocates worried that a host of issues, including the recent influx of unaccompanied minors, had pushed the announcement back.
Obama addressed those concerns on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, the president said his administrations handling of the unaccompanied minors crisis has kept us busy. However, he said it has not stopped the process of looking more broadly about how do we get a smart immigration system in place while were waiting for Congress to act.
It continues to be my belief that, if I cant see the congressional action, that I need to do at least what I can in order to make the system work better, Obama said. But you know, some of these things do affect timelines and were just going to be working through as systematically as possible in order to get this done.
The president added that his preference continued to be for members of Congress to act and said he is hopeful that they may act after the midterm elections. But in the meantime, Obama said his administration is considering a wide range of executive actions he can take on immigration.
Though he didnt give any details about what actions hes considering, one possible action could be to provide temporary work permits to undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria. He also didnt give a specific date of when he plans to announce his executive orders.
Obamas comments came on the same day that more than 130 undocumented immigrants, faith leaders and immigrant rights advocates engaged in an act of civil disobedience in front of the White House. They called on the president to provide administrative relief from deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Among those arrested was Oscar Alfaro, an undocumented father who is facing deportation and has been living in Washington, D.C., for the past 15 years. The Honduras native said he came to the United States to escape poverty and earn enough money to support his family.
We want to show the president that we are willing to do everything as long as he issues an executive order that will offer us relief, Alfaro told VOXXI, explaining why he and others decided to participate in the civil disobedience action.