"What I'm going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president," Obama said.
Action which sets up a political battle with Republicans on Capitol Hill.
"There's no question that there's going to be a political confrontation with Congress over this," former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. "I think there is a bigger risk for the president had he gone back on his word."
In June, the president said he wouldn't wait for Congress to pass comprehensive reform. Michigan Republican Congressman Mike Rogers says that can still be done, but only with compromise.
"What you see now is, 'I'm going get everything I want,' that's what the president is saying, 'or I will take nothing,'" Rogers said. "That's wrong. It's wrong here in the Congress if we do that, and it's wrong if the president does it."
"It is still fully within the capacity of the Congress to pass a law that comprehensively reforms the immigration system, as the majority of the American people want and as would be good for the economy, and then that would end the need for any executive action," Carney said.
The president says he'll still be working with Congress to get a bipartisan bill passed, but disagreements over immigration reform, some argue, could spill onto other issues down the road.
"That divisiveness will poison every other major accomplishment we need to get done on behalf of the American people, certainly in this term and going into next term, as well," Rogers said.
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