Earnest was on the network’s New Day program discussing President Barack Obama’s executive order to legally permit up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States.
“So you think you can tolerate constitutional and legal scrutiny of the sufficiency of this executive order?” CNN's Chris Cuomo asked.
"What the president announced last night is legally unassailable. It’s entirely consistent with the way that President Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush used their executive authority to try to make changes to the broken immigration system," Earnest replied.
Many critics say Obama's executive order by-passsing Congress on immigration goes beyond what former presidents have done. Actions ranging from lawsuits to defunding the presidential action are being openly discussed as possible responses.