In a handful of recent interviews, President Obama talked about his desire to pass immigration reform this year. When asked about the potential deportation of illegal immigrants, the president said that he has to follow the law, reports CNN.
Speaking to Univision and Telemundo, Obama said: “I think this is something we should be able to get done certainly this year, and I’d like to see if we could get it done sooner, in the first half of the year if possible.”
Obama also added that “it’s a matter of Republicans and Democrats coming together and finding a meeting of the minds,” but failed to mention the bipartisan coalition of senators attempting to do just that.
He also said that the administration has “done more on border security in the last four years than we have in the previous 20,” to Univision. “We’ve actually done almost everything that Republicans asked to be done several years ago as a condition to move ahead on comprehensive immigration reform.”
The Washington Post reports that Obama also faced several questions about the potential deportation of illegal immigrants. So would Obama slow deportation while immigration is worked out or offer some kind of amnesty to them?
“I’m not a king. My job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law,” Obama told Telemundo. “When it comes to enforcement of our immigration laws, we’ve got some discretion. We can prioritize what we do. But we can’t simply ignore the law.”
Obama talked a bit more about deportation:
“What we’ve seen is that the people who are being deported, the vast majority of them now are criminals. That did not used to be the case. But there are still obviously gonna be people who get caught up in the system.”
Obama also said that the fight for immigration reform is going to be sticky but said “the one thing I can guarantee is my effort. I can guarantee that I will put everything I’ve got behind it.”