WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will meet Wednesday with immigration advocates to discuss plans for his executive actions, which are coming under heavy criticism from conservatives.
The private meeting, which has not yet been announced but was confirmed to The Huffington Post by multiple advocates, is part of the president's push to defend his plans to expand deportation relief and work authorization to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The executive actions, which Obama announced last November, are on hold after a judge ruled last week that they could not move forward while he considers their constitutionality in a suit brought by 26 states. Congressional Republicans are also trying to end the measures as part of a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security -- a move that risks an agency shutdown at the end of the week when the current appropriations run out.
Obama has attempted to reassure immigration advocates that he has no intention of caving on the issue, despite the setback in the courts and ongoing attacks from Congress. Instead, he is mounting a public defense. He plans to travel to Miami on Wednesday for a primetime town hall on immigration, moderated by José Díaz-Balart of Telemundo and MSNBC.
The president also penned an op-ed for The Hill on Tuesday defending his policies and calling on Congress to take up immigration reform.
Obama said after the judge issued a temporary injunction on his policies that he was confident "the law is on our side."
Some of the immigration actions were set to start last Wednesday, but were put on pause after the judge's ruling. On Monday, the administration requested a stay on the ruling, and also appealed the decision.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a bill Monday evening to block Obama's executive actions, though a vote has not yet been scheduled.
The president's immigration actions would create a new program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, that would allow parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to stay in the country and work for three years. It would also expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy to allow undocumented immigrants of all ages who came to the U.S. as children to receive deportation relief and work authorization.