The next president could overturn his executive actions on immigration, President Barack Obama acknowledged on Tuesday. But he believes reaction from the American people would make it politically difficult to pull off such a move.
“It's true that a future administration might try to reverse some of our policies,” Obama said during a town hall convention in Nashville, Tennessee, according to NBC News. “But I'll be honest with you, I think that the American people basically have a good heart and want to treat people fairly.”
Obama used his executive powers last month, when he announced an executive order that would provide temporary two-year legal status to about 5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
The orders expire when Obama's term ends. Some undocumented immigrants fear that participating in the program may be used against them -- by putting them on a deportation list -- if and when the orders are overturned.
The president said that such an action was unlikely. “I think any future administration that tried to punish people for doing the right thing would not have the support of the American people,” Obama said, according to the Associated Press.
The executive orders drew a furious backlash from Republicans in Congress, who called the move an overstepping of power. In response, Obama challenged the GOP to pass its own bill (knowing full well that there is no agreement inside the Republican party about immigration policy).
“Go ahead and pass legislation,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News. “They don’t need me to act. In fact, I encourage them to act, but in the meantime what we’ve got to make sure of is, number one, that our borders are secure, and what I’m doing is going to allow us to put more resources there.”
The stop in Nashville is one of many made by Obama, including ones made in Las Vegas, Chicago and New York during a segment of "The Colbert Report."