- The Washington Times - Monday, February 10, 2014

If the House doesn’t take action on immigration, the chamber’s Republican leadership shouldn’t use a lack of trust in President Obama as an excuse, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

His comments come amid growing skepticism among Republicans and administration critics that the federal government, and Mr. Obama specifically, cannot be trusted to enforce tough new border security measures — necessary components to any immigration measure that could pass the GOP-controlled House.

“First of all, the struggles the Republican Party has with this issue have nothing to do with the president. This is a tough issue for Republicans, as Republicans themselves acknowledge on the record all the time,” Mr. Carney told reporters.

“I don’t think it stands up to scrutiny that the troubles Republicans have on this issue are the president’s fault. Nor could they be attributed to a lack of trust.”

Over the past several days, the administration further breached trust with Congress by reinterpreting laws for refugees. Under the new guidelines, applicants for asylum could be approved even if they’ve given “limited” material support for terrorism in the past.

That decision, among other executive actions and not just on immigration, has led to skepticism that in the event a grand bargain is reached — legalization and a broad path to citizenship in exchange for border security strong enough to cut off the flow of new illegal immigrants — the administration simply won’t follow through on the latter, even if legislation explicitly calls for such action.

On Sunday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, suggested that Republicans embrace an immigration bill that doesn’t kick in until 2017, after Mr. Obama has left office.

Mr. Carney didn’t respond specifically to that idea, but dismissed Republican claims that the president can’t be trusted to protect American borders.

“We understand and are even sympathetic to the fact this is a tough issue for Republicans, but nobody buys that Republican reluctance to deal with and pass comprehensive immigration has to do with” the president, Mr. Carney said.