President Barack Obama made the "right" move to circumvent Congress and shield nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation —
and should have done it sooner, former President Jimmy Carter says.
"I think he has tried every possible way to get Congress to pass a reasonable bill," Carter told MSNBC in an interview
that aired Friday.
"The Senate on a bipartisan basis – they overwhelmingly supported the Senate version. I think President Obama worked as well as he can with the House of Represenatives."
Story continues below video.
The interview took place Thursday, The Hill notes,
just hours before Obama announced his controversial plan
to give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
"President Obama has worked as well as he can with a recalcitrant House of Representatives," Carter declared, questioning, however, his timing for taking executive action to address the immigration issue.
"I think from a partisan point of view he was justified in [waiting] until after the election, but he was mistaken in thinking it would make a difference."
Carter confessed he was "a little bit biased on that subject now because all the Democrats lost all over the nation" in a "Republican sweep of America ... "
One Democratic casualty was Carter’s own grandson, Jason Carter, who was running for governor in Georgia, but was defeated by incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal.
Obama had first promised to go it alone on immigration before the end of the summer, but then recalibrated in early September, saying he’d wait until after the midterm elections,
a decision that was slammed by both immigration activists, who were pressing for quick action, and Republicans, who denounced the timing as cravenly political.
The midterms ended with Republican control of both chambers of Congress, and with several key governorships around the country as well.
But the former president said Obama was right to use executive action, circumventing Congress, because he’d "tried every possible way to get Congress to pass a reasonable bill."
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