Democratic lawmakers seem confident immigration reform will happen in the near future because even if Congress doesn’t act, the president will move forward with executive orders, they say. Via The Hill:
"I don't think the president will be hands off on immigration for any moment in time," Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), the head of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters this week. "He's ready to move forward if we're not."
Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, echoed that message, saying Obama is "not just beating the drum," for immigration reform, "he's actually the drum major."
"There are limitations as to what he can do with executive order," Crowley said Wednesday, "but he did say that if Congress continued to fail to act that he would take steps and measures to enact common-sense executive orders to move this country forward."
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said there are "plenty" of executive steps Obama could take if Congress fails to pass a reform package. "The huge one," Grijalva said, is "the waiving of deportation" in order to keep families together.
"Four million of the undocumented [immigrants] are people who overstayed their visas to stay with family," he said Friday. "So that would be, I think, an area in which … there's a great deal of executive authority that he could deal with."
While working through Congress is the preferable method for Democrats and Obama, these lawmakers are probably correct. Although it wasn’t an executive order, we already saw Obama act unilaterally last year when he dramatically changed immigration policy by halting the deportation of younger illegal immigrants. But if the president waves deportation as Grijalva suggests, he would be opening the floodgates for an even bigger illegal immigration problem down the road. 1986, anyone? Yes, key figures from both sides of the political aisle are working on immigration reform but amnesty shouldn’t be part of Congress or the president’s plan.
In the meantime, however, let’s not forget that illegal immigration is still a crime.