It is no secret that John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the House Republican leadership want to cut an immigration deal that includes amnesty for illegal aliens. It’s right there in the “Standards for Immigration Reform” they unveiled in late January.
It is also no secret that Boehner and company only reluctantly decided against moving forward with immigration legislation this year because of resistance from the Republican caucus and a lot of blowback from their political base. Conveniently, President Obama’s refusal to enforce most existing immigration laws, coupled with his claim of executive authority to unilaterally grant amnesty to broad categories of illegal aliens, provided the GOP leadership a face-saving way to retreat from their “principles” just a week after making them public.
“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner said on Feb. 6, as he declared that the House was unlikely to act on immigration in 2014. Even Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Gang of Eight, has warned the House against trusting the president to implement any immigration enforcement legislation in good faith. The administration “will just do the legalization part but they won't do the enforcement part,” Rubio stated.
Boehner and Rubio are correct, of course. The president has demonstrated that he will not enforce immigration laws he doesn’t like, and there is less reason for him to even make a pretense of enforcement once he has achieved his political goal of amnesty for illegal aliens.
Enter Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate’s most tireless crusader for an illegal alien amnesty.
Schumer told House Republicans that if they want to use the president as an excuse not to pass their own amnesty bill, he would be open to taking the president out of the equation. “Let’s enact the law this year, but simply not let it actually start ‘til 2017, after President Obama’s term is over,” Schumer said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Feb. 9. It is a typically shrewd political maneuver by Schumer who recognized that Republicans were painting themselves into a corner by citing the president, not bad policy, as their reason for not acting on immigration in 2014.