Dems: If GOP Doesn't Act, Obama May Tackle Immigration Reform Alone

Thursday, 22 May 2014 07:26 PM

By Lisa Degnen

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If House Republicans do not pass an immigration reform bill by the end of July, Democrats say President Barack Obama will go it alone to get the job done, according to a report.

"They have about a six-week window, from June 10 after the last Republican primary until the August recess. If they don't pass immigration reform then, the president will have no choice but to act on his own," New York Sen. Charles Schumer said, The Hill reported Thursday.

The Democratic leader is the author of the comprehensive Senate immigration reform proposal.

He said House Republicans who are following Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King's opposition to increased immigration will be blamed for going "against the wishes of their party and the American people."

He was seconded by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, The Hill reports, who said that for Democrats, the "highest priority for reform is to reunify the families of illegal immigrants that have been split by deportations."

"There is no demographic group in the world that believes in family unification more than Hispanics," Reid said. "That's my first goal — I think should be our first goal. The way to do that once and for all is to pass comprehensive immigration reform."

The Senate passed the bill almost a year ago, but critics have charged the bill needs to have more teeth to secure the border. They also believe it could hurt legal U.S. citizens who are still unemployed and looking for jobs, The Hill reports.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama says the bill could even increase unemployment. The Hill quotes his spokesman, Stephen Miller, as saying, "Three hundred and twenty-nine days ago Senate Democrats voted unanimously to double the supply of low-wage guest workers for corporations."

Obama has sent a mandate to the Department of Homeland Security to take into account the negative impact families of immigrants living in the country illegally could face when they are enforcing immigration policy, according to The Hill.

Also, those who support more humane treatment of immigrants expect new rules soon that would slow the deportation of illegal immigrants whose family members are American citizens or settled U.S. residents.

Democrats want House Speaker John Boehner to move ahead with the legislation by the August recess or, they say, Obama will likely take matters into his own hands.

But Boehner and others wonder if the administration will have the ability to increase security at the borders and oversee illegal immigrants if the bill is passed, The Hill reports.

Also, Boehner on Tuesday defended the GOP's decision to reject a Republican congressman's bid to bring his own immigration bill to a vote, according to Fox News.

Rep. Jeff Denham of California defied the leadership by filing the ENLIST Act as an amendment to the sweeping defense policy measure the House will consider this week.

The legislation "provides an avenue for those who want to perform the ultimate act of patriotism — serving their country — to earn legal status," Denham said in a statement, according to the Fox report. "As a veteran, I can think of no better way to demonstrate your commitment to our nation."

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