President Barack Obama is on “pretty firm legal footing” to issue his upcoming executive actions on immigration, Bill Clinton said on Wednesday night, one day before the steps were set to be announced.
“The president’s going to make his immigration comments tomorrow. As far as I can tell, every governor—every president in the modern era has issued some executive orders affecting immigration. So I think it—I imagine he’s on pretty firm legal footing,” the former president said at The New Republic’s 100-year anniversary gala.
Obama’s authority to act stems from an immigration law signed in 1986 which permits the executive branch to defer deportations for certain categories of immigrants and temporarily let them work in the United States.
Congressional Republicans are raising hell in anticipation of Obama’s move, which is expected to shield as many as five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation. House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) office dubbed him “Emperor Obama” and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed that “Congress will act” if the president moves forward.