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Saturday, October 22, 2016

By Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — One question that Washington appears unable to easily answer is whether President Barack Obama’s intention to use executive action to change immigration law would help or hurt his party in the midterm election.

At the moment, the conventional wisdom is of two minds.

On one hand is the concern being raised by politically endangered Democratic senators, those from conservative and mostly Southern states who are at risk of losing their elections this fall.

Any move by the president, the theory goes, would spark Republican opposition, and propel conservative voters to the polls in places that are already difficult for Democrats.

The president’s party is in danger of losing its majority in the Senate if Republicans net six seats in November, and Democratic Senators Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Kay Hagan in North Carolina and Mark Begich in Alaska have all stated loud and clear that Congress, not the president, should change immigration law.

“The president is wrongly using executive orders,” said Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat challenging the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Others argue that providing reforms to a broken immigration system could energize Democrats to turn out, especially in a state like Colorado with a robust Latino population, and where Democratic Senator Mark Udall is in a tight race.

And then there is yet another theory: the idea that Republican opposition to immigration action would be so strong against the president that Democrats could portray their GOP opponents as extreme or out of touch — as has happened, for example, when Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suggested that young immigrants were drug mules with cantaloupe-size calves, or when Mitt Romney, the former presidential candidate, said immigrants here illegally should simply “self deport.”

Some Republicans have suggested that if the president gives legal status to millions of immigrants, they would have little choice but to try to stop him in Congress, using the fall’s upcoming budget battle in a scenario that could cause a repeat last year’s government shutdown.

White House officials said last week the president may delay a decision on the bigger changes until after the election, and is considering a two-step process that first rolls out tightened enforcement.

With the decision influx, the calculations for candidates underscore the high stakes of the immigration debate.

Goading the Republican opposition to overreact may be a popular idea among political strategists, but it could prove a bit too dicey for Democratic candidates fighting for their political lives.

At the same time, a two-step process that begins with more modest reforms may end up as the worst of both worlds, saddling Democratic candidates with Republican attacks on presidential overreach without giving them the boost of decisive presidential action.

“The reality is, the Republican backlash has already started,” said Christina Jimenez, a co-founder and now managing director of United We Dream, the immigrant youth organization. “The president has nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

  • FT66

    In my opinion the President must act on immigration reform before the November election. He has to stick to what he campaigned for. If he will come up with a very bold act to remember, that will be an added bonus to his legacy. He shouldn’t care what republicans say or threaten him to do. They didn’t put him in power after all. By taking action on immigration, he will be doing his job and what the majority wants him to do. Whether he loses the senate or not, that won’t matter much. So long as he holds the VETO, he will cruise all way to the end of his Presidency while knowing he did something major on Health Care Reform plus Immigration of which he will be remembered of.

    • charleo1

      Good point!

    • joe schmo

      Go ahead let him pass the ‘son of a bitch.’ If he passes this by ‘executive order’ then down the road, it can always be reversed. If he decides to give alllll these people ‘amnesty,’ legal citizens will be pissed.

      You libs are really on a role….. Yes, Obama thinks he has achieved much in his two terms as President. He is a success in his own mind because he has achieved what no one else has been able to do and that is to totally take a once great country and turn it into a cesspool.

      You and your ilk are helping to contribute to the complete dissolution of what once was America. We can only look at Detroit and now Atlantic City to see that. With the increase in minimum wage and all those NEW ILLEGALS streaming across the border (new voters for your side by the way) we can certainly count on less and less jobs. We are becoming more and more like Mexico. Outsourced because of high taxes and stringent Corporate regulations, corruption, no jobs, huge debt (we owe our souls to China), full of crime(the police get their hands slapped for doing their jobs), literally run by the drug cartels(border agents are no longer allowed to uphold the law). An anarchy in the making. A decadent world where anything goes. Just where is that Obama money going to come from when the taxes are so high that no one can no longer pay them? All the poor will be the first to succumb to poverty because there will be no money in the coffers. Yes, the very people you seek to protect. Jobs will be fewer because of that HIGH minimum wage (Companies will cut labor). You’ll seee… I will come back to tell you, I told you so.

      Your side and ours as well (but mostly yours getting their way) has created such a mess that I really don’t foresee things turning around. If you tell me one more time that Obama is doing a good job and that everything is going great, I will tell you to go ‘F’ yourself.

    • James Bowen

      His job is to enforce the laws. If he takes this action, he would not be doing that, which is a violation of his oath of office.

      Also, there are a lot more American citizens who oppose legalization of illegal aliens than support it. That is the only reason why the Senate bill or something like it has not passed the House.

      • FT66

        I think you are confusing things. Immigration bill was passed by Senate already. What he has to do is to use his Executive Order so that it becomes the law, then enforce it like any other law. Where is the violation here???

        • James Bowen

          For something to become law, both Houses have to pass it. Since the House has not passed it, it is not the law. Therefore, such an executive order would conflict with current law. That is illegal, and that would be the violation. The President is allowed to issue executive orders so long as they do not conflict with existing law. This one would.

          • joe schmo

            Where have you been at. Oh that’s right….While the world collapses around your kind, you all sit in your self-proclaimed Utopian bubble. It just keeps getting better by the day.

            Just heard that Obammy plans to wait on immigration reform until after the election. Gee, go figure. Gotta make sure all of his campaigning and golf games paid off. By the sweep of his ever present pen, he’ll pass it either way. We can bet on that.

            FT66 – what laws? We already know he doesn’t abide by them…. We have to abide by all the laws of the land, but the Liberals and our Liberal Government can do whatever it pleases. We all have to live by religious principles in this lifetime, guess the Liberals have found a loophole. Didn’t you know ‘It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.’ LOL

          • James Bowen

            I really hope Pres. Obama does not do this.

          • FT66

            What about other laws which are the result of him using Executive Order? Thats fine with you. BUT when it comes on Immigration, thats violation of the oath of Offce!!! Right?

          • James Bowen

            Executive orders that conflict with laws Congress has passed are illegal.

  • charleo1

    First, to control illegal immigration, we need to examine why they, the immigrant from Mexico, and parts South, are drawn to cross the border. They are poor, and need a job. Then, we need to examine why they feel as if they can get past the border guards, they can find one. Because, it’s a fact, is the answer. If they sneak past border patrol, they can easily get a job. And as long as that remains the reality, there’s no amount of securing the border we can possibly afford, that will stop the inflow. Secondly, we need the Congress to agree on something. And this is all very upsetting to Republican plans. Which was from the beginning, and remains so today, to go thru the entire Obama Presidency, objecting to, disagreeing with, and obstructing any and, all 100% of the positions of President Barrack Hussein Obama. On every issue of which might come up, in the course of the first 4, then, with his re-election, the final 8 years too! This in the most powerful, and consequential Nation on the Planet, is not easy. In fact, Republicans have be willing to look pretty stupid a number of times. But, they are dedicated, and determined to tough it out, come what may. Even with, and especially on immigration. For which they have no consensus whatsoever among themselves. So they are not about, after 6 years, to stop now. Obama’s almost done. And they are not about to find themselves, at this late date, compromising with the, “Always wrong, always misguided, forever the unable to lead, Obama, on immigration reform. And they are willing to waste billions of American’s hard earned tax dollars at the Southern Border, and let the immigration crisis fester, and roil. Until maybe they get a Republican President, or can figure out a way to ditch the T-Party, and all that corporate money they bring in, So, they look stupid, mean spirited, and the same Speaker that’s suing the President for abusing his power, and not leaving to Congress it’s rightful Constitutional role. Is now insisting the President use these same powers, to address in some way the immigration mess, they themselves have no freek-ing idea of what position to take. And when the President does act. Either out of initiative, or necessity they are going to praise his leadership, and thank him for doing a job in which they find themselves unable politically to address? Not in my lifetime. Not a chance.

  • James Bowen

    Forget the political motivations. Immigration law needs to be enforced. Laws that have direct bearing on the well-being of U.S. citizens should be enforced as the law requires, not become political pawns. We have immigration laws and limits for a reason, the reason being that we cannot take in everyone who wants to come here. We don’t have the resources.

  • Dominick Vila

    The fact that President Obama delayed action on immigration law reform until after the midterm election highlights how dangerous this issue is to Democrats running for re-election or open seats. The GOP has managed to transform a call for re-evaluation of existing immigration laws, some of which facilitate the entry of undocumented immigrants seeking refugee status, into a Reagan-style amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country. Many Americans interpret this issue as capitulation, and ignore the fact that the influx of illegal immigrants is at an all time low and the number of deportations is at record highs. Their goal, does not include pragmatic changes to address human value considerations, or the needs of businessmen in some sectors of our economy, for them the issue starts and ends with the need to rid the USA of anyone who looks or sounds like a Latino or Hispanic, regardless of whether they are here legally or illegally.