Senate Democrats begging Obama to delay immigration putsch
With his pen all but poised to sign an amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, panicked Senate Democrats are begging the president to spare them the political fallout before the election and hold off on any action.
The issue has become so incendiary that Obama is now likely to delay his amnesty decree until sometime after the mid terms.
More top Democrats are pressuring President Barack Obama to slow down on immigration reform, further diminishing the chances that he’ll take sweeping administrative action before Election Day.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) wants Obama to wait until after November. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said he has “concerns about executive action.” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, said it would be a “mistake” for the president to do anything significant.
Until now, few Democrats have been willing to break publicly with Obama over his vow to issue an executive order on immigration. Democratic incumbents in this year’s most competitive Senate races have already voiced concern, but the calls from others to hold off on acting suggests Democrats are growing even more anxious about the decision and its potential to upend the fight for control of the Senate.
White House officials have been locked in an intense debate over whether Obama should announce a program to defer deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants before Election Day. A delay would mark a major reversal from June, when the president stood in the Rose Garden and pledged to issue an order by the end of the summer, and it would infuriate the Hispanic community.
But the flagging support among senators is particularly worrisome to the White House, which will be reluctant to make such a controversial move without the strong backing of congressional Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declined Thursday to say that Obama should act ahead of the election — a noncommittal posture that reflects the deep divisions within his caucus.
“The decision is the president’s,” Reid said in an interview at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas. “I’m confident he’s going to do something. He has to decide when he’s going to do it.”
White House officials insist the president has not yet decided what to do on immigration or when he will do it. Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and chief domestic policy adviser Cecilia Muñoz delivered that message in a round of calls this week to immigration advocacy groups and labor leaders.
The personal attention has done little to soothe the activists, who are furious over the White House’s handling of the decision.
There's more to the immigration executive action planned by the president besides amnesty. He could, for instance, announce before the election an end to most deportations. That would probably keep the Hispanics in the fold until after the election.
Would the president say to hell with it and go it alone on amnesty regardless of electoral consequences? I think that, given what's happening overseas, presidential action before the election becomes more likely. Obama can't retrieve the situation in Ukraine or Iraq before November, but he can fire up his base and get them to the the polls in an effort to save his Senate majority with a bold move on immigration.
The president sees himself in historical terms and if his legacy costs him at the ballot box, he might not mind. In the end, it really doesn't matter what Congress thinks - even members of his own party. In the president's bid to go down in history, he will run over anything and anybody that stands in his way.