U.S. senator suggests quick approval, delayed enactment of immigration law

WASHINGTON Sun Feb 9, 2014 2:52pm EST

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) delivers remarks about the Rise of the Tea Party and How Progressives Can Fight Back at the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) delivers remarks about the Rise of the Tea Party and How Progressives Can Fight Back at the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington January 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. immigration reforms could be passed now but enacted after President Barack Obama leaves office if Republicans fear he will not enforce the new rules, a key Democratic senator said Sunday, offering a way to achieve one of Obama's main policy objectives.

Last week, Republican House Speaker John Boehner expressed doubts Obama's long-sought overhaul of immigration laws would be passed this year and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said there was little interest in the issue with congressional elections looming in November.

Boehner said one of the biggest obstacles to immigration reform in the House was a concern that Obama would not fully enforce any laws that might be approved. As evidence of that, he accused him of changing "the healthcare law on a whim, whenever he likes".

On NBC's "Meet the Press" program, Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and one of chief architects of the Senate's bipartisan immigration plan, offered what he said was a simple solution.

"Let's enact the law this year but simply not let it actually start until 2017 after President Obama's term is over," he said.

"Now, I think the rap against him that he won't enforce the law is false. He's deported more people than any president but you could actually have the law start in 2017 without doing much violence to it."

Schumer said it would be difficult to pass immigration reform in 2015 or 2016 when the next presidential election season opens because Republican candidates would be staking out conservative positions on immigration in order to differentiate themselves from Democrats.

Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio who has been active on immigration, said "some Republicans would be interested" in Schumer's idea about delayed enactment, especially if there were measures to increase border security and prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers.

In June, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill that would provide a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally and tighten border security.

The bill stalled in the House, where many lawmakers oppose offering legal status for some 11 million people who live in the United States unlawfully.

(This version of the story is refiled to say Portman is a senator, not representative)

(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Jim Loney and Sophie Hares)

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Comments (15)
actnow wrote:
The biggest obstacle to immigration reform is the bill Schumer cooked up (S744) that is really an anything goes mass amnesty NOW, with only proposals for enforcement (that wouldn’t actually be law, or if it was law, probably not be funded or enforced). Had he, and the Gang of Eight, created a genuine bill that protected American workers, and genuine enforcement FIRST, perhaps something could have been passed by the House. A big thanks to the millions of Americans (of both parties) who continue to pressure both parties to actually represent citizens first (and the 20 million unemployed/underemployed). Our voices are coming through, but we must not let up. NumbersUSA dot com is a powerful ally for concerned citizens and is giving us back our voice….check it out and keep up the fight. Only action matters now. We must remain louder than the business interests that would completely destroy our middle and lower working classes.

Feb 09, 2014 1:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
actnow wrote:
P.S….as always, read the fine print with Chuck Schumer. He has a long history of deception in regards to the immigration issue. His interests do not lie with those he claims to represent (American workers). He is bought and paid for by the business lobby and you better believe any proposals coming from him do not truly lie in the long term interests of our citizens or democracy. I have no doubt that sources like FairUS dot org and NumbersUSA dot com will give citizens a good insight on what is really going on.

Feb 09, 2014 1:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
carnivalchaos wrote:
actnow: I would say a bigger obstacle is the Republicans simply saying they’re not going to do it.

Feb 09, 2014 2:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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