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Embattled Senate Democrats Urge Obama Against Immigration Executive Orders

Saturday, 06 September 2014 07:50 AM

Three of the U.S. Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats in this year’s midterm elections are urging President Barack Obama against immediately proceeding with executive orders to revise U.S. immigration policy.

Senator Mark Begich of Alaska says Obama’s priority should be border security, while Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire say Obama should not act unilaterally on immigration even though the Republican-led House is unlikely to take up the issue on its own.

The Democrat-led Senate last year passed a bipartisan bill to create a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants.

“I am extremely disappointed that the House has stalled on comprehensive immigration reform, but this is an issue that I believe should be addressed legislatively and not through executive order,” Hagan said in a statement.

Obama said yesterday that he’ll announce “soon” his executive action on immigration, further muddying an administration timeline that’s been a source of friction with Democrats like Hagan, Shaheen and Begich who are up for re- election in closely contested races. North Carolina and Alaska are rated tossups by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, while the New Hampshire race leans Democratic.

Obama said his goals are to put more resources into border enforcement, encourage legal immigration and give undocumented immigrants who’ve been in the U.S. for an extended period a path to legal status so they can pay taxes. He said he has begun to receive some of the recommendations he sought from his cabinet members on actions he can take unilaterally.

Hispanic Voters

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the 100-member Senate. While action by Obama would energize Hispanic voters for Democratic candidates, polls in some battleground states indicate the prospect of an executive order may spur Republican turnout.

After House Republicans made clear they wouldn’t bring immigration legislation up for a vote, Obama said in June he wanted the recommendations from Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson “before the end of summer” and that he would act “without further delay.”

Shaheen also issued a statement saying that she “would not support a piecemeal approach issued by executive order.” She said she believes that “House Republicans should pass the bipartisan reform bill the Senate cleared last year.”

Begich said in an e-mail that “securing our borders has to be the priority, and that should be the president’s focus.”


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Three of the U.S. Senate's most vulnerable Democrats in this year's midterm elections are urging President Barack Obama against immediately proceeding with executive orders to revise U.S. immigration policy.Senator Mark Begich of Alaska says Obama's priority should be...
senate, democrats, press, obama, immigration, orders
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2014-50-06
Saturday, 06 September 2014 07:50 AM
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