President Obama will go ahead with a “very significant” executive action on immigration after the summer – a move that may well trigger impeachment proceedings against him, senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer told reporters at a Monitor breakfast Friday.
“The president acting on immigration reform will certainly up the likelihood that [Republicans] would contemplate impeachment at some point,” said Mr. Pfeiffer, who has been at the Obama White House since its inception.
A lot of people in Washington laughed off Sarah Palin’s call to impeach the president for executive overreach, Pfeiffer said, but “I would not discount that possibility.” Polling shows strong support for the idea among the GOPbase, he said, adding that House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio has opened the door to the possibility with his lawsuit against Obama.
Speaker Boehner has flatly denied an interest in impeachment, saying, “I disagree” with those who support it. Next week, the GOP-controlled House is expected to pass a resolution to sue the president for executive overreach on the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”
“This is a fundraising exercise for Democrats,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel in an e-mail response to Pfeiffer’s impeachment comments. “It is telling, and sad, that a seniorWhite House official is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border.”
In 2012, Obama signed a memo authorizing deferred action on the deportation of certain children of illegal immigrants – the so-called “DREAMers.” Republicans cite it as an example of executive overreach and say it has encouraged the influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America. Tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R) of Texas has urged his colleagues to reject emergency funding for the current border crisis unless the Obama administration rolls back the deferred action.
But while some may have thought the child-migrant crisis might discourage the president from further executive action on immigration, it is having the opposite effect. It has raised awareness of immigration as an issue and increased “the urgency” that the public feels in fixing it, Pfeiffer said. That gives the administration “broad permission” to take action, he said.