President Donald Trump on Monday denounced U.S. laws dealing with immigration as "weak" and "pathetic," once more calling on the Congress to make it easier to swiftly deport people who enter the country illegally, though his calls for lawmakers to act on changes have made no headway in the House and Senate in recent months.
"They are obsolete, and they are weak - and they are pathetic," the President said of current U.S. immigration laws.
During a Rose Garden news conference with the President of Nigeria, Mr. Trump made no apologies for his tough stance on immigration.
"There's no country in the world that has immigration laws like we do," the President said. "They've got to change, and they've got to change now, for the safety of our country."
The President's words were much like a demand for action he made repeatedly around Easter, when the Congress was gone on a two week break; but, when the House and Senate returned to Capitol Hill earlier this month, there were no votes, no bills scheduled for action on immigration, just more talk, and finger pointing over how best to deal with the Obama-era DACA program and any legislative immigration changes.
While GOP lawmakers have said they want to do something to tighten laws dealing with illegal immigrants in the U.S., there is no majority in the House for a get-tough measure backed by the President - just as there was not a majority for an immigration bill Mr. Trump favored in the Senate.
So far, a House Republican immigration plan put forward by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has not been scheduled for a vote - as it does not have enough GOP votes to be approved. That plan would give a temporary legal status to DACA recipients, which is unacceptable to a chunk of Republicans - while the idea of allowing "Dreamers" to get on a 12-year pathway to citizenship is unacceptable to another big block of GOP members.
As the President was again calling for action in Congress, Vice President Mike Pence was visiting the border to reiterate the desire of the Trump Administration to act.
Meanwhile, the leader of the President's get-tough efforts on illegal immigration announced on Monday that he would retire, and not go through with his nomination to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
In a written statement, Thomas Homan said the Trump Administration has "made significant progress this past year in enforcing our nation’s immigration and customs laws, and in protecting public safety and national security."
Homan had been the Acting Director of ICE, and was nominated by the President November 14, 2017 to be the new chief.
No confirmation hearings had been held on his nomination.