Obama: I'll act on my own on immigration

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Obama: I'll act on my own on immigration
Demonstrators, led by the New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice and the Congress of Day Laborers, participate in a rally outside the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Friday, April 17, 2015. A three-judge panel began hearing arguments whether to lift a temporary hold imposed by a federal judge in Texas on President Barack Obama's executive action seeking to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Demonstrators, led by the New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice and the Congress of Day Laborers, participate in a rally outside the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Friday, April 17, 2015. A three-judge panel began hearing arguments whether to lift a temporary hold imposed by a federal judge in Texas on President Barack Obama's executive action seeking to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Nora Sandigo, left, hugs Christopher Pablo, 3, right, during a news conference, before leaving in a caravan with about 30 immigration reform supporters and activists to New Orleans, La., Thursday, April 16, 2015, in Miami. Activists are converging outside of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans Friday. A panel of three judges will weigh a request by the Department of Justice which would allow recent executive orders on immigration to proceed, which could stop the deportation of about 5 million immigrants. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
President Barack Obama meets with a group of "Dreamers" in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The president is accusing opponents of his immigration action of failing to think about the "human consequences." The president spoke during an Oval Office meeting Wednesday with six of young immigrants who would be subject to eventual deportation under a bill passed by the House. The legislation would overturn Obama's executive actions limiting deportations for millions here illegally and giving them the ability to work. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, center, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, during a Congressional Hispanic Caucus news conference to discuss their efforts to implement President Barack Obama's immigration executive action to delay deportations of immigrant children. From left are, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., Rep. Juan C. Vargas, D-Calif., Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., Castro, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a leading advocate in the House for comprehensive immigration reform, center, makes a point during a Congressional Hispanic Caucus news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, to discuss their efforts to implement President Barack Obama's immigration executive action to delay deportations of immigrant children. From left are, Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., Rep. Juan C. Vargas, D-Calif., Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a leading advocate in the House for comprehensive immigration reform, speaks with reporters after a news conference by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on their efforts to implement President Barack Obama's immigration executive action to delay deportations of immigrant children, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., center, joined at right by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and other House Democrats, calls on their GOP colleagues to pass a funding bill for the Homeland Security Department that does not contain provisions aimed at blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, stand together on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, during a ceremony before the signing of the bill authorizing expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline. Though both houses of Congress are now controlled by Republicans, Boehner and McConnell are at a standstill over provisions attached to a Homeland Security spending bill aimed at blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., smile and exchange congratulations after the signing of the bill authorizing expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. Though both houses of Congress are now controlled by Republicans, Boehner and McConnell are at a standstill over provisions attached to a Homeland Security spending bill aimed at blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, speaks during a news conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill with Representative John Carter, a Republican from Texas, right, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The DHS is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on Feb 27 with a stalemate over whether the must-pass measure should carry riders to upend President Barack Obama's immigration policies continuing to threaten passage of the legislation. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, speaks during a news conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The DHS is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on Feb 27 with a stalemate over whether the must-pass measure should carry riders to upend President Barack Obama's immigration policies continuing to threaten passage of the legislation. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, right, gestures while talking to Representative John Culberson, a Republican from Texas, after a news conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The DHS is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on Feb 27 with a stalemate over whether the must-pass measure should carry riders to upend President Barack Obama's immigration policies continuing to threaten passage of the legislation. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, speaks during a news conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill with Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Arkansas, right, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The DHS is operating under a continuing resolution that expires on Feb 27 with a stalemate over whether the must-pass measure should carry riders to upend President Barack Obama's immigration policies continuing to threaten passage of the legislation. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pauses while making a statement about immigration reform, Monday, June 30, 2014, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The president said he's done waiting for House Republicans to act on immigration. He says he now plans to act on his own. Obama announced his intention Monday to take executive action. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
US President Barack Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants, known as DREAMers, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 4, 2015. The group has received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which provides relief from deportation for immigrants who arrived in the US illegally before they were 16 years old. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: Heather Pina-Ledezma, 6, holds the hand of her mother Madai Ledezma, 32, from Mexico, now living in Maryland, during a news conference with Democratic Senators to discuss U.S. President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration, on Capitol Hill, December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama traveled to Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday, where he defended his actions on immigration and again called on Congress to pass an immigration bill. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Protesters wave signs as US President Barack Obama arrives to speak about his recent executive actions on immigration on December 9, 2014 at the Casa Azafran, a community center and home to a number of immigrant-related nonprofit organizations, in Nashville, Tennessee. Obama's controversial overhaul provides three-year relief for millions of undocumented people who have lived in the country for more than five years and have children that are US citizens or legal residents. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama greets attendees after speaking about his recent executive actions on immigration on December 9, 2014 at the Casa Azafran, a community center and home to a number of immigrant-related nonprofit organizations, in Nashville, Tennessee. Obama's controversial overhaul provides three-year relief for millions of undocumented people who have lived in the country for more than five years and have children that are US citizens or legal residents. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: Immigrants rights activists gather to celebrate U.S. President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration policy in Washington Square Park on November 21, 2014 in New York City. Obama announced a plan on Thursday that would ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 21: Immigration activist Astrid Silva introduces U.S. President Barack Obama to speak on his executive action on U.S. immigration policy at Del Sol High School on November 21, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Obama outlined a plan on Thursday to ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: About 100 people gather to rally in support of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration policy in Lafayette Square across from the White House November 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama announced a plan on Thursday that would ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: An anti-immigration demonstrator moves among about 100 people who have gathered to rally in support of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration policy in Lafayette Square across from the White House November 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama announced a plan on Thursday that would ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the new steps he will be taking within his executive authority on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama, accompanied byVice President Joe Biden, speaks about immigration reform, Monday, June 30, 2014, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The president said he's done waiting for House Republicans to act on immigration. He says he now plans to act on his own. Obama announced his intention Monday to take executive action. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Barack Obama stands with Vice President Joe Biden as he speaks about immigration in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. House Speaker John Boehner told President Obama that the House will not vote on overhauling the nation’s troubled immigration system during this election year, the White House says. Officials say Obama will announce steps Monday to deal with immigration through executive actions without congressional approval. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, makes an announcement about immigration reform, Monday, June 30, 2014, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The president said he's done waiting for House Republicans to act on immigration. He says he now plans to act on his own. Obama announced his intention Monday to take executive action. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama meets with a group of "Dreamers" in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The president is accusing opponents of his immigration action of failing to think about the "human consequences." The president spoke during an Oval Office meeting Wednesday with six of young immigrants who would be subject to eventual deportation under a bill passed by the House. The legislation would overturn Obama's executive actions limiting deportations for millions here illegally and giving them the ability to work. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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By Jim Kuhnhenn and Erica Werner

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the face of an unyielding Congress, President Barack Obama said Monday he will no longer wait for Republicans to act on immigration and will move on his own to make policy changes in what has been a top second-term priority of his presidency.

Obama said he will refocus immigration enforcement onto a Mexican border that has seen a tide of children crossing illegally from Central America. That means putting resources into deporting people who are the most recent border-crossers or individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security.

"I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing," Obama said. "And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it's bad for our economy and it's bad for our future."

Obama said he decided to bypass Congress after House speaker John Boehner informed him last week that the House would not vote on an immigration overhaul this year. A congressional leadership aide said Obama and Boehner spoke privately before an event last week at the white House honoring U.S. golfers who won last year's Presidents Cup.

Obama's Action On Immigration Amplifies Feud With Boehner

Obama said there are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House to pass an immigration bill today, and says he would sign it.

But Obama said he's waited for more than a year to give Boehner space to act.

Obama said the thousands of unaccompanied children showing up on the border underscore the need to drop the politics and act on immigration.

Obama's decision effectively declares that a broad based change in immigration policy is dead for the year, and perhaps for the remainder of his administration. Changing immigration laws and providing a path to citizenship for about 11 million immigrants in the country illegally has been one Obama's top priorities as he sought to conclude his presidency with major second-term victory.

Obama's ability to undertake changes on his own is limited.

He is instructing Homeland Security Department Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to present him with executive actions he can take without congressional approval by the end of the summer.

Still, in responding to the influx of unaccompanied children, Obama plans to concentrate immigration resources on the border areas. The move will effectively further reduce the number of deportations in the country's interior by stressing enforcement action on individuals who are either recent unlawful border crossers or who present a national security, public safety, or border security threat.

The decision coincides with a White House request to Congress for new powers to deport newly arrived immigrant children traveling without their parents.

As such, Obama's actions represent a delicate balancing act between responding to what the White House has called a "humanitarian crisis" over unaccompanied children and a demand from immigration activists to reduce the administration's record number of deportations.

Deportations have spiked under the Obama administration to a total of around 2 million so far - the same number removed during the full eight years of the Bush administration. At the same time, formal removals from the interior have decreased each year of the Obama administration, while the number of deportations from the border has increased.

The Obama administration also has taken steps already to focus deportations on people with more serious criminal records or those who pose a threat. But this so-called "prosecutorial discretion," while harshly criticized by Republicans, never succeeded in calming concerns in immigrant communities about how deportations are conducted.

Obama on Monday was dropping by a meeting at the White House among immigration overhaul advocates and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Many of those advocates reacted harshly to Obama's plan Monday to seek emergency money from Congress that would, among other things, help conduct "an aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers."

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