Mr. Obama went on to cast himself as something of a moderate on immigration reform, saying that, behind the scenes, he’s fought against those who believe the U.S.-Mexico border should be erased entirely.
His comments underscore the White House’s belief that the executive action, while lacking the heft of actual law, still can permanently transform the way America deals with illegal immigration.
“It’s true a future administration might try to reverse some of our policies. But I’ll be honest with you — the American people basically have a good heart and want to treat people fairly and every survey shows that if, in fact, somebody has come out and subjected themselves to a background check, registered, paid their taxes, the American people support allowing them to stay. So any future administration that tried to punish people for doing the right thing, I think, would not have the support of the American people,” Mr. Obama told a supportive crowd at a town hall meeting in Nashville. “It’s true, theoretically, a future administration could do something that I think would be very damaging. It’s not likely, politically, that they reverse everything we’ve done.”
Mr. Obama’s confident declaration comes amid a growing backlash in Washington and across the country after last month’s long-awaited executive action.