Bill Clinton Blesses Obama's Move to Act on Immigration

He says President Barack Obama is on “pretty firm legal footing” to act.

U.S. President Barack Obama, right, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton laugh during the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014.

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday gave an approving nod to President Barack Obama's use of executive action on immigration.

Speaking at an event to honor The New Republic's 100th anniversary, Clinton said the president is on “pretty firm legal footing,” according to a transcript published by the magazine. The president's plan will keep 4 million to 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported, and he is set to announce it Thursday evening in a primetime speech.

Clinton said that “in a world where borders look more like nets than walls, we are interdependent, whether we like it or not.”

“The president's going to make his immigration comments tomorrow,” he said. “As far as I can tell, every governor—every president in the modern era has issued some executive orders affecting immigration. So I think it—I imagine he's on pretty firm legal footing.”

“There was this sense of possibility in our country,” he added later in his speech. “We have got to recover that. And we have to understand, in my opinion, that immigration reform is a part of that. ... Do we have to have fair rules? Do we have to make people wait in line, do you not want people jumping? Yeah, all of that's true. But the more prosperous our neighbors get, the less illegal immigration we'll have and the more we'll want people to come here and, if they get an education, to stay here, particularly, and contribute to us. So I'm looking forward to what will be said tomorrow.”

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