The Slatest

Obama: Immigration Now, Stimulus and Corporate Tax Reform Later (Maybe)

Obama in the East Room on Wednesday.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

For some time, the Obama adminstration has said the president would take unilateral executive action to reform the United States immigration system—a Congressional bill addressing the issue having died last year due to Republican opposition in the House—after Election Day. On Election Day, many many many Republicans won office, few of whom are noted progressives on immigration, and many of whom have complained about how often the president implements policies via executive action. Today, presumed Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said that taking such action on immigration before a new Congress is sworn in would be a “mistake” like “waving a red flag in front of a bull,” the bull being his Republican caucus. (Doesn’t that usually end badly for the bull, though?) Would a chastened Obama, at today’s press conference, change course to acknowledge yesterday’s wave of Republican victories, perhaps dialing back his immigration ambitions?


Before the end of the year, we’re going to take whatever lawful actions that I can take, that I believe will improve the functioning of our immigration system.

So that’s that.

Obama touched on a variety of issues at the press conference in mostly general terms, but led his remarks with proposals related to job creation that could potentially have bipartisan appeal. (Lingering economic insecurity was a theme he returned to a few times when addressing the voter frustration evident in yesterday’s results.)

We all agree on the need to create more jobs that pay well. Traditionally, both parties have been for creating jobs rebuilding our infrastructure—our roads, bridges, ports, waterways.

I think we can hone in on a way to pay for it through tax reform that closes loopholes and makes it more attractive for companies to create jobs here in the United States …

In the five states where a minimum wage increase was on the ballot last night, voters went five for five to increase it. That will give about 325,000 Americans a raise in states where Republican candidates prevailed. So that should give us new reason to get it done for everybody with a national increase in the minimum wage.

Immigration reform, a minimum-wage hike, and a corporate-tax-reform-and-infrastructure jobs bill: That, at least for now, is your Barack Obamagenda.