A lengthy article in the Washington Post looks at Obama and immigration. The administration makes an argument I've not heard before, and one that is unconvincing:
Administration officials have said the rise in removals resulted from sharp spending increases on enforcement passed by Congress before Obama took office, while the advocates argued that the administration could take many steps on its own to limit the threat to otherwise law-abiding people.
So the buck is passed entirely. Elsewhere, Obama tells reform advocates to blame Congress for not passing legislation, but also blames Congress for legislating enforcement spending. What this misses is that Obama does have authority over how the money is spent, and despite his calls for a focus on criminals that hasn't been happening in practice.
He and his aides signaled privately to lawmakers in the months that followed that some middle-ground resolution was in the works. Eventually, the administration would enact a policy of “prosecutorial discretion,” calling on immigration officials to focus on deporting serious criminals, repeat border-crossers and others considered security threats rather than students, veterans or seniors.
The policy, which would later include a case-by-case review of deportation cases, seemed like a potential victory for immigrant advocates. But so far, they have found the results to be disappointing. Only a fraction of cases would be closed under the review, and advocates remain wary.
The "Blame Congress" game can only take you so far, especially when your administration is deporting more people than in the entire history of the United States.