WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Frustrated waiting for Congress to act on immigration reform, newly-minted White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that President Barack Obama is seeking ways to use his executive authority to directly stem a recent influx of illegal immigrants streaming into the U.S.
Speaking with MSNBC Thursday, Earnest said the Obama administration is “not just going to sit around and wait interminably for Congress.”
“It’s fair to say the White House and the president have been pretty disappointed,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told MSNBC. “We’re not just going to just sit around and wait interminably for Congress.”
“We’ve been waiting a year already,” continued Earnest. “The president has tasked his Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson with reviewing what options are available to the president, what is at his disposal using his executive authority to try to address some of the problems that have been created by our broken immigration system.”
The recent increase in immigrants flooding across the border includes more than 52,000 unaccompanied immigrant children who have crossed into the U.S. border since October of last year. DHS data on arrested unaccompanied minors shows that since Oct. 1, there have been 11,577 from Mexico, 13,282 from Honduras and 11,479 from Guatemala. There have been 9,850 from Salvador.
Earlier this month, President Obama called the influx an “urgent humanitarian crisis” affecting Department of Homeland Security officials.
Earnest, who replaced Jay Carney this week as White House press secretary, added that Obama’s executive actions on immigration reform are “not a substitute for robust Congressional action.”
Senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett stated last week that Obama may “build upon” his program of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which some critics are blaming for encouraging the latest surge of unaccompanied child immigrants.