After Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested she would expand President Obama's executive action protecting millions of illegal immigrants, the White House Wednesday said he did not have the legal authority to go any further on his own.
"The president's views on this have not changed," said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. "The president was determined to use as much of his authority as he could to try to bring some much-need accountability to our broken immigration system."
When asked if a Clinton attempt to go beyond Obama's actions would be illegal, Earnest replied, "That will be something for future presidents and ultimately, future courts, to decide."
The former secretary of state in Nevada Tuesday attempted to put pressure on Republican presidential candidates for their approach to illegal immigration. In an appeal to the progressive base, she promised additional executive action if Congress remains deadlocked in the issue.
"If Congress refuses to act, as president, I would do everything possible under the law to go even further," Clinton said during a campaign event in Las Vegas.
As Clinton previews her immigration blueprint, Obama's executive power play is tied up in the courts. A Texas federal judge brought the Obama administration's new protections for illegal immigrants to a halt — an appeals court is weighing a request by the Justice Department to let the programs move forward.