Updated 7:28 p.m. | President Barack Obama said Thursday Republicans will be committing "suicide" if they don't pass an immigration bill.
"It's anyone's guess how Republicans are thinking about this," Obama said at a town hall meeting in California.
He said that in the long-run politically, "It is suicide for them not to do this." But he said the tea party and other groups have opposed the idea of an immigration overhaul.
Obama expressed hope that an immigration bill will pass in the next two years, but said he's not going to wait.
He also saidhis new immigration executive actions could include changes to the H-1B program used frequently by tech companies.
Earlier Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., released a statement reacting to Press Secretary Josh Earnest acknowledging there were political reasons behind Obama's decision to delay his executive actions until after the midterms. Earnest said Wednesday it was not intended to protect Democrats on the ballot, but instead to avoid Republicans crediting their opposition to immigration for their victories and therefore making it less likely that they would pass an immigration bill in the future.
“It’s shocking that the White House now openly admits that President Obama is delaying his unilateral actions on immigration until after the November elections simply because of raw politics," Boehner and Goodlatte said in the statement. "Whether before or after the election in November, it is never acceptable for the President to re-write our laws by executive decree – the Constitution does not give him the authority to do so. By taking unilateral action on immigration, President Obama will inject serious constitutional questions into an already heated debate. Such shortsighted actions will undermine the American people’s trust in the President’s commitment to enforcing our immigration laws and will further setback any chance of enacting immigration reform.”Earnest also doubted that Republicans would react to the executive action on immigration by threatening a government shutdown .
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