One of the key Republicans behind the Senate’s immigration reform bill is warning his fellow party members that if Congress doesn’t pass an immigration bill, President Obama might take unilateral action. During an interview on the Morning Show With Preston Scott Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) suggested President Obama would be “tempted” to legalize 11 million people without the benefit of border security and other provisions contained the Senate bill:
I have maintained that for more than a year, that I believe that this President will be tempted if nothing happens in Congress, he will be tempted to issue an executive order like he did with the DREAM Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen. Now we won’t get a E-Verify, we won’t get any border security, but he’ll legalize them.
Obama has the executive power to institute limited reforms like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that granted temporary legal status to some undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. But even Obama says he probably does not have the power to legalize 11 million immigrants carte blanche, and has no plans to do so anyway.
Instead, Obama has repeatedly stated that the United States immigration problem should be solved through the legislature. During a press conference last Friday, Obama was still optimistic that the Senate immigration bill could have a chance if it were presented in the House. But he blamed House Republicans for stalling on reform efforts over “internal Republican caucus politics.”
House Speaker John Boehner has vowed to take up a bill that only the majority of the Republican party can agree with– such an agreement has not been seen with the comprehensive Senate immigration bill. Other House Republicans, meanwhile, have agreed to approach reform with a legalization pathway, granted that there are stringent border security preconditions.
Meanwhile, Mark Krikorian, director at the conservative think tank Center for Immigration Studies, compared the hypothetical situation in which Obama could legalize all 11 million undocumented immigrants to allowing dogs to urinate inside the house. Krikorian tweeted, “Let your dog pee anywhere he wants in the house, because he’s just going to do it anyway.”