White House spokesman Josh Earnest was pressed this week to explain why President Obama made no effort to deal with immigration reform when he first came into office in 2009 and when the Democratic Party controlled both chambers of Congress.
The president has repeatedly scolded Congress for not doing enough to address immigration reform, complaining often and loudly that House Republicans are to blame for stalling crucial legislation. The president has even blamed so-called "nativist elements" in the Republican Party for blocking bills that would supposedly address the growing problem on the U.S.-Mexico border.
But again, why didn’t he address this issue when he had the necessary support in Congress during the early days of his administration?
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., “were running the House and Senate,” Fox News’ Ed Henry noted at Monday's press briefing. “They failed to act for two years. Why didn’t he do anything then?”
“At the time, you recall back in 2009, there were many things on the president’s plate,” Earnest replied.
Ernest dodged the question, turning his attention instead to the president’s efforts to address other pressing issues.
“You had the House, Senate and White House 2009, 2010. Why didn’t you focus on solving immigration problems then?” Henry continued.
“And my point is, Ed, that there were a lot of other crises that the President was focused on at that point. And what we’re focused on now is trying to find common-sense solution, bipartisan solutions to a problem that a wide variety, a wide majority of Americans acknowledge exist at this point,” Earnest said, concluding their back-and-forth.
Henry isn’t the first to raise this point: Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., last week addressed this very same point, that Democrats had the power in 2009 and 2010 to act on immigration reform and didn’t, much to the chagrin of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who was moved to break House decorum to confront him.