Thursday, June 26, 2014

Republicans and Democrats say immigration reform won't happen while Obama is still in office

When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Virginia primary earlier this month, many felt the loss meant an end to passing immigration reform this year. Now, both sides are saying it's unlikely that immigration reform will be addressed while President Obama remains in office, David Nakamura and Ed O'Keefe report for The Washington Post. (Post photo by Marion Correa: Demonstrators with the pro-immigration organization 'United We Dream' block an Washington intersection on June 5 to protest President Obama's decision to delay his revisions of deportation policies.)

"The slow collapse of hopes for new border legislation — which has unraveled in recent months amid persistent opposition from House Republicans — marks the end of an effort that both Democrats and Republicans have characterized as central to the future of their parties," Nakamura and O'Keefe write. "The failure leaves some 12 million illegal immigrants in continuing limbo over their status and is certain to increase political pressure on Obama from the left to act on his own."

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said in an interview Wednesday, “Nothing’s going to happen. My point of view is, this is over. . . . Every day, they become not recalcitrant, but even more energetically opposed to working with us. How many times does someone have to say no until you understand they mean no?” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of a bipartisan group of eight senators who led reform efforts in the upper chamber, agreed, saying "chances of legislation advancing in the House are 'next to zero,'” the Post writes.

Obama called immigration reform his top priority during his second term, but now even "some of the most vocal proponents of a legislative overhaul now say they have surrendered any last hopes that Democrats and Republicans can reach a deal," Nakamura and O'Keefe write. "The realization marks a low point for advocates who mounted the first serious immigration push since 2007, when a bipartisan effort under then-president George W. Bush was defeated in the Senate."

House Republicans have cited Cantor's loss, and the recent event where thousands of unaccompanied Central American children were caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, as reasons that the time is not right for immigration reform, Nakamura and O'Keefe write. Also House Speaker John Boehner has said he plans to sue Obama over the president’s use of executive powers. While Boehner hasn't specified what his suit will consist of, he has been critical of Obama's 2012 decision not to deport young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally by their parents.  (Read more)

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