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Monday, August 25, 2014

You got that right: Obama's Immigration Plans Irk Some Democrats - Candidates in Red-State Senate Races Don't Back Expected Obama Order to Ease Deportations

From The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—As President Barack Obama contemplates moves to scale back deportations of illegal immigrants, he is courting a battle not just with Republicans but with a few members of his own party.

Some conservative-state Democrats, all in tough election fights this fall, say Mr. Obama would be making an inappropriate end-run around Congress if he were to act on his own to ratchet back deportations.

That leaves Mr. Obama caught between advocates for immigrants, who have pressed him to ease deportations, and some red-state Democrats who say the matter should be left to Congress—an argument also made by Republican lawmakers.
"Executive amnesty would be the political equivalent of a nuclear explosion for Democratic candidates," predicted Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He said it would "inject adrenaline into an electorate already eager to send him a message of disapproval."
Mr. Obama's administration has deported a record number of people in the U.S. illegally, prompting loud protests from immigrant advocates.
Pressure remains intense from immigrant-rights groups for Mr. Obama to give millions of illegal immigrants safe harbor from deportation. Senate Democratic leaders have said Mr. Obama should act unilaterally if the House failed to move legislation this summer, offering the White House a measure of cover for its expected action.
The president has a range of options. He is almost certain to refine the priorities used to determine which illegal immigrants are pursued for deportation. For instance, the president may say that people who have immigration violations on their records, but no other criminal convictions, aren't priorities.
A bigger move would be to expand an existing program that shelters from deportation some 700,000 people brought to the U.S. as young people. New groups provided similar shelter could include the undocumented parents of these people or of U.S. citizens.
Activists are worried the White House will back down in the face of pressure from red-state Democrats. A coalition of immigrant-rights groups called FIRM recently released an open letter to Democrats saying: "Any attempts by our 'allies' in Congress to delay or dilute administrative reforms will be viewed as a betrayal of Latino and immigrant communities with serious and lasting consequences."
Frank Sharry, who leads the immigrant-rights group America's Voice, said Democrats would gain long-term advantages from broad executive actions by Mr. Obama, starting in 2016, when the Latino vote will be critical to the presidential contest, like it was in 2012.
"Democrats will be defined at the party who stick up for immigrants, and Republicans will be known as the party that sticks it to immigrants," he said.
But for endangered senators, a sweeping move to protect undocumented immigrants poses problems, said a Democratic strategist working on Senate campaigns, because it puts immigration into the news in states where it is politically difficult to defend illegal immigrants.


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