President Obama says his recent executive actions granting millions of illegal immigrants temporary amnesty could spur Republicans to work together with Democrats on the issue, but if they solidify what he called a “nativist trend” in parts of the Republican Party, there probably won’t be much progress.
“If your view is that immigrants are either fundamentally bad to the country or that we actually have the option of deporting 11 million immigrants, regardless of the disruptions, regardless of the cost, and that that is who we are as Americans, I reject that,” Mr. Obama told NPR.
On the other hand, he said, there is potential for working together on the issue, though Republicans have vowed to fight his recently-announced executive actions when the new Congress returns next month.
“So, the question then becomes, by me having taken these actions, does that spur those voices in the Republican Party who I think genuinely believe immigration is good for our country? Does it spur them to work once again with Democrats and my administration to get a reasonable piece of legislation done?” he said.
“Or does it simply solidify what I do think is a nativist trend in parts of the Republican party? And if it’s the latter, then probably we’re not going to get much more progress done, and it’ll be a major debate in the next presidential election,” he continued.
Mr. Obama said the country has more resources, border police, and money devoted to the borders than at any time in the past several decades and that the flow of illegal workers is about half of what it was and is lower than any time since the 1970s.
“So, you know, you have to describe specifically what are the concerns that you’ve got,” he said.