U.S.

President Obama Mulls Executive Action On Immigration Crisis

President Obama is likely to take major executive action on the immigration crisis, a move that could jolt Washington ahead of midterm elections.

President Obama Mulls Executive Action On Immigration Crisis
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​PRESIDENT OBAMA: "They're not even trying to solve the problem. This is a message bill that couldn't quite pull off yesterday so they made it a little more extreme so maybe they could pass it today." (Via The White House)

​​That was the president chiding House Republicans Friday on their response to the ongoing immigration crisis at the southwestern border. (Via Getty Images)

After conservative pushback forced the new House leadership to table their initial proposal Thursday, the GOP-controlled chamber was able to squeeze-in a last second vote on a border legislation before a five week recess. (Via C-SPAN)

The package, which passed mostly along party lines, calls for $694 million in emergency spending. Far short of the $3.7 billion President Obama requested, and the $2.7 billion that died on a procedural vote in the Senate Thursday. 

Aside from significantly less monetary aid, the House package is drawing criticism from Democrats and the White House for how it will spend that aid. 

The legislation includes funds to beef-up border security, boost the number of immigration judges and National Guard troops and to provide housing and care for the thousands of migrant minors held at the border. (Via Getty Images)

But that bill also intends to make it easier to return unaccompanied children to their home country, and the House leadership strengthened language in a companion bill to restrict President Obama from expanding a 2012 program that can defer the deportation of a children brought to America illegally. (Via Getty Images)

USA Today explains even though the vote was largely a "political exercise [ahead of] a month-long break in an election year", it still has many Democrats fuming. 

New York Democrat Nydia Velazquez told the paper: "When did we lose our way? ... How we respond to children in need of safe haven speaks to the character of this nation, who we are."

But Republican Michelle Bachmann countered by saying: "It's dealing with the issue that the American people care about more than any other, and that is stopping the invasion of illegal foreign nationals into our country." (Via Getty Images)

And despite House Republicans' moves to block the president from acting unilaterally, including a newly approved lawsuit, Obama says he will use execution action to address the situation.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: "I'm going to have to act alone, because we do not have enough resources." (Via The White House)

What that move will look like is still unclear. 

But The Washington Post reports White House aides are discussing a range of options to provide legal protection and work permits to the nation's some 11 million undocumented residents. 

"Ideas under consideration could include temporary relief for law-abiding undocumented immigrants who are closely related to U.S. citizens or those who have lived in the country a certain number of years."

Advocates say those actions could effect as many as five million people. (Via Getty Images)​

Other moves could include a re-ordering of the deportation list to an expansion of the deferred action program House Republicans hoped to block Friday.  

But there are limitations to what President Obama can actually do. 

UCLA law professor Hiroshi Motomura tells Politico: “I think there are real constraints on him ... He cannot give people green cards. He cannot bypass the process … He cannot give people a path to citizenship.”

Whatever President Obama decides to do, CNN explains the results will have a major impact ahead of a contentious midterm election. 

"The move would have instant reverberations on the campaign trail, with one third of the Senate and the entire House being contested in November." The Senate race is particularly dicey for Dems, with "the party ... defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs ... half of those Democratic-held seats [are] in red or purple states."

Congress will not reconvene until Sept. 8.