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Politics & Government

Obama Says He'll Use Executive Orders For Immigration Reform

President Obama said once again that he won't wait on Congress to start making changes to America's immigration system. In an appearance Sunday on CBS' Face The Nation, Obama stood by his recent statements that he'll use executive action to enact changes before the end of the year, but told host Bob Schieffer that he still wants Congress to act on the issue, too.

"I prefer and still prefer to see it done through Congress, but every day that I wait we're misallocating resources," said Obama. "We're deporting people that shouldn't be deported. We're not deporting folks that are dangerous and need to be deported."

The president said both sides agree something has to be done on immigration. "We've been talking about it, for years now, in terms of fixing it," said Obama. "We need to be able to secure our border ... And we need to make sure that the millions of people who are here, many who've been here for a decade or more, and have American kids and for all practical purposes are part of our community, that they pay a fine, they pay any penalties, they learn English, they get to the back of the line, but they have a capacity to legalize themselves here."

Everyone agrees, Obama said, that the U.S. doesn't have the capacity to deport 11 million people.

Obama had said this summer that he planned to use executive action to change the immigration system. After pressure from Democrats running for re-election in heavily Republican states, as NPR's Mara Liasson reported, he later announced that he'd delay until after the midterm elections.

The delay didn't seem to do much to help Democrats, as Republican candidates went on to sweep those midterms. Now, Obama is returning to his previously-announced plans for executive action.

Republican congressional leaders aren't pleased with Obama's talk of executive action. Staff members in House Speaker John Boehner's office have warned the president against using executive orders to pursue immigration reform, calling it "executive amnesty."

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