Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, on Thursday said he agrees with President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, but he said the government’s deportation policies have also broken up too many families.
“Just that Congress does need to embrace this,” Mr. Johnson said when asked for his reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier in the day on Mr. Obama’s deportation amnesty. “How about a president that will get in there and … pressure Republicans to do this, that it’s the right thing.”
Earlier Thursday, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on a case involving Mr. Obama’s deportation amnesty, letting stand a lower court’s ruling that had blocked the president’s plan.
Mr. Johnson was answering questions after addressing the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference in Washington, D.C.
“I happen to agree with Obama,” he said, though he added that Mr. Obama’s deportation policies have also broken up a large number of families.
“It’s something that I would not be doing as president of the United States,” he said.
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“I think that what Obama has done is what needs to happen, although I would not want to be deporting and breaking up families like has happened,” Mr. Johnson said. “But the executive orders that he has implemented — I agree with. They’re all OK.”
“But comprehensive immigration reform is something that needs to happen, and it doesn’t involve building a wall and it doesn’t involve the deportation of undocumented workers,” he said.
He said Congress has an obligation to hold hearings on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, Mr. Obama’s pick to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
During Mr. Johnson’s address to the conference, he called for embracing immigration in the country and blasted presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Immigration is a wonderful thing,” he said. “We should make it as easy as possible for someone that wants to come into this country and work to be able to get a work visa.”
“I absolutely reject the notion that we should deport 11 million undocumented workers,” Mr. Johnson said. “That is just incendiary. That is a misunderstanding of this issue in a really big way. And building a fence across the border is misunderstanding this issue in a really big way.”