The White House is dismissing efforts to crack down on "sanctuary cities" and the administration blames Republicans for failing to pass an immigration bill.
"The irony that I have noted in this situation, that many of these pieces of legislation were written and are supported by Republicans who oppose comprehensive immigration reform," Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. "And you heard me say on countless occasions over the fall, that blocking comprehensive immigration reform would perpetuate a system that is the closest thing we have to amnesty. "It sounds like a lot of Republicans now have taken that view. They understand that the situation — that the system that they chose to perpetuate, actually does inhibit our ability to most effectively implement the law in a way that keeps our community safe."
Earnest said that's why the president took the executive actions on immigration, "to focus our limited law enforcement resources on those individuals who do pose a threat to public safety."
He noted the immigration bill that passed the Senate two years ago would have included record funding for border security, ramped up interior enforcement and increased penalties for repeat violators.
"These are the kinds of enforcement provisions that were included in the law that Republicans blocked. So, when they raise concerns about how effectively our immigration system is working to keep the community safe, they have no one to blame but themselves."
As for the sanctuary cities bills that would withhold funding?
"We don't take those legislative proposals particularly seriously," Earnest said.