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White House Signals Executive Action If GOP Blocks Immigration Reform

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AP Photo

The message was reiterated by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 Democratic senator, in a public Facebook post on Friday.

"It's crystal clear where the issue of immigration reform is headed, and Republicans have only two choices to make," he said. "They can either help pass comprehensive reform ... or they can sit idly by and watch the President greatly curtail deportations while 11 million continue to live in limbo here in America."

The announcement comes as Obama faces enormous pressure from the Hispanic community to act if Congress won't. The White House's statement made clear Obama prefers legislative action: "[He] expressed his strong desire" to Hispanic Caucus leaders "to work together to put pressure on Congressional Republicans to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible."

The administration acted on its own in 2012 to halt deportations for qualified immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. The latest signals are that it may go further.

The comments are likely to ruffle feathers among Republicans, who have spent much of this week attacking Obama for taking actions via executive authority amid congressional gridlock.

About The Author

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.