WASHINGTON — The White House has asked the Department of Defense to delay a plan that would allow some immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children to obtain a limited path to citizenship by serving in the military.
The decision to postpone the proposal is part of the White House effort to put off any immigration-related executive actions until August in the hope that House Republicans act on legislation to overhaul the immigration system in the next two months.
White House officials have said they do not want to hurt those chances by taking executive branch actions that would anger congressional Republicans.
‘‘The president is convinced there is a legislative opportunity, and that gives us the best opportunity to fix what’s broken in our immigration system,’’ White House spokesman Bobby Whithorne said Monday. ‘‘He wants to leave no stone unturned to make sure the House takes that opportunity, follows the Senate’s lead, and takes action.’’
The plan under consideration by the Pentagon would apply to immigrants who arrived illegally as children but already have received work permits and relief from deportation under a program President Obama announced two years ago, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. More than 500,000 immigrants have benefited from the program.
In a separate development, the Obama administration is asking Congress for an extra $1.4 billion to deal with a continued increase in unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America trying to cross the Mexican border.
Administration officials said they underestimated how much money would be needed to deal with the problem.
The Office of Management and Budget said the increase in children trying to cross the border alone has created an ‘‘acute humanitarian situation’’ that could cost the government as much as $2.28 billion.