President Obama with Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Photo: Newscom

The Obama administration is moving forward with several federal agency rules on immigration while threatening bigger executive actions.

The left’s argument is that Republicans in Congress have given the president no choice but to act on his own; the right counters that Obama’s pattern of executive actions is the very reason they’re wary of working with him on immigration.

The Hill reports that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is reviewing “immigration policy at the president’s direction and is reportedly weighing an administrative move to curtail deportations.”

The agency has offered no timetable for the review’s conclusion or said what potential recommendations are being weighed, though The Associated Press reported last month that Johnson is considering limiting removals of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who don’t have serious criminal records.

Meanwhile, in Congress, liberals have been holding out for a “comprehensive” reform bill like the one the Senate passed. The problem is, that holdout holds all other prospects for immigration reform hostage until the left secures its priority of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

“There is just example after example where Obama has played politics with this issue, blocking any legislation on the Hill that doesn’t have amnesty attached to it, while pushing his own agenda and claiming he has to because Congress won’t act,” said Heritage’s James Carafano, the E. W. Richardson Fellow. “It’s Washington hypocrisy at its height. It’s not efficient; it undermines the credibility of American governance, and it flouts the rule of law.”

But Obama’s threats are having an effect on some Republicans, who indicate compromise is still possible. Of course, Heritage experts have warned that opening those doors could lead to all sorts of interesting deals, like trading citizenship to illegal immigrants if they’ll agree to serve in the U.S. military.

“Instead of building trust with the American people and Congress by actually enforcing existing law, the president has done the opposite,” says Heritage Vice President Derrick Morgan. “We should confirm our laws are enforced and our border is secure.”

Lawmakers don’t have to make a false choice. As Heritage’s Immigration and Border Security Reform Task Force says:

Fixing America’s broken southern border and deeply flawed immigration system is often framed as a stark choice between doing nothing or accepting a massive, sweeping, complicated bill that works at cross-purposes to its stated goals.

…All who cherish a society that is committed to keeping America both a nation of immigrants and a country that respects its laws deserve better.

Learn about solutions to secure the border, serve people waiting in line, facilitate guest workers, and more.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

Quick Hits: