Obama: Republicans scared of immigration blowback

US President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during the Democratic Issues Conference February 14, 2014 in Cambridge, Maryland. Obama spoke about goals for Democrats in the US Congress for the coming year.
US President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during the Democratic Issues Conference February 14, 2014 in Cambridge, Maryland. Obama spoke about goals for Democrats in the US Congress for the coming year. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP - Getty Images

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Speaking on Friday at a Democratic retreat in Maryland, President Obama urged Democrats to keep the pressure on congressional Republicans on immigration reform, saying there are some "big things" which need to be done that he cannot do through executive action.

"And I believe, frankly, that there are folks on the other side of the aisle who genuinely want to see this done, but they're worried and they're scared about the political blowback," he said.

Obama said an immigration policy that grows the economy and gets people out of the shadows should be a top priority.

"We have to remind ourselves there are people behind the statistics," he added.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, recently dampened the possibility of immigration legislation this year, saying he did not see it happening because many Republicans did not trust the president on enforcing immigration laws.

In the meantime, Obama has been pressured by many immigration and Latino advocates to stop the record amount of deportations - almost 2 million - under his administration by using his executive authority.