“I never have a green light. I’m bound by the Constitution. I’m bound by separation of powers,” Obama said at a press conference, concluding a Washington summit on Africa.
“What I can do is scour our authorities to try to make progress,” Obama added of his approach in the face of congressional gridlock.
House Republicans brought a lawsuit against Obama for delaying the employer mandate in his signature health law. And Obama is weighing whether to expand the deferral of deportations of Dream Act-eligible immigrants to others living in the country illegally — a move conservatives have called illegal.
The president did not reveal specifics of his immigration plan, which is expected by the end of summer.
Obama said he prefers that Congress would pass a comprehensive immigration bill, but that “until that happens, I’m going to have to make choices.”
Obama was also asked about his plan to dial down Russian aggression in Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that the Kremlin would ban certain American agricultural imports. Putin prohibited imports from the United States and other Western nations in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine.
"We don't know yet whether sanctions are working,” Obama conceded, before adding that Putin’s actions would only harm the Russian economy.