WASHINGTON, November 22 (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama is challenging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, while also defending his legal right to take executive action to address immigration challenges the United States currently faces.
"We have Democrats and Republicans who are prepared to vote. The only thing standing in the way is a simple yes or no vote in the House of Representatives," Obama said in front of a crowd at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, Friday, adding that he "will not give up".
The US president scolded Congressmen in the House of Representatives for "wasting time" and failing to bring a bipartisan Senate bill on immigration, passed more than 500 days ago, to the floor.
Obama used the failure to justify his executive action plan.
One part of the plan that the US president announced Thursday, is to allow up to five million illegal immigrants in the United States to register and avoid deportation. The measure would allow illegal immigrants who have been in the US more than five years and parents of children who are US citizens or legal residents to apply to stay in the US temporarily. Applicants would have to pass a background check and pay taxes.
Republicans have expressed outrage over Obama acting unilaterally on immigration reform, proposing to withhold funds for Obama's executive action, or only authorizing short-term funding to the agencies responsible for carrying out Obama's policy.