The question on the minds of many is: ‘will President Obama save immigration reform from falling by the wayside?’ House leaders said they will continue to press for reform but the months ahead will consist largely of budget related issues. The budget will likely consume the agenda of politicians and may bury all attempts to address the immigration issue.
Advocates of immigration reform have proposed a plan to lobby the White House to use Executive Privilege in order to move immigration reform along. Such a move could galvanize the Hispanic electorate against the Republicans in coming elections. The Hispanic vote has been perceived as the quickest growing voting block in the electorate in the United States.
“I believe that this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, to issue an executive order as he did for the Dream Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio. Many opponents of the reform movement saw the statement from the leading Republican as a veiled blackmail inference.
Will Obama save immigration reform and issue an executive order to placate the movement?
“Some people feel like we need to cut our losses, legalize as many people as we can,” Juanita Molina, of Humane Boarder, told the National Journal. Proponents are now looking to an alternate method to pass some type of legislation to push along the reform movement.
“Organizers think long term, so they know that legislation is one way, but that DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), has proven that the administration can provide another way,” said Richard Morales, director of deportation prevention for the PICO National Network. He had reached out to faith based organizations by email and cultivated support for an alternative approach.
Critics contend that the Republicans are sandbagging the issue and truly would like for the reform issue to fail. “The only solution to this problem is for Congress to fix the broken immigration system by passing comprehensive reform,” a spokesman said. “The White House cuts off the conversation whenever it comes up. They want to keep the pressure on Republicans to pass legislation, as do we,” said Frank Sharry of America’s Voice.
“Our goal is legislation that will put the 11 million (current undocumented immigrants) on an eventual path to citizenship. That’s permanent protection for millions of people,” said Sharry. Sharry’s group is intent on winning the legislative fight and pushing for movement on the issue. It is believed that Sharry also supports white house action on the issue if it is called for.
Will it come down to White House support and Obama saving immigration reform garnering the support of the growing Hispanic base? Many believe that it may occur, if not the threat could force the hand of the Republicans to take action.
By Thomas Barr