Top Democrat Calls John Boehner’s Bluff On Immigration Reform

CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

On Meet the Press on Sunday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) proposed a compromise for getting immigration reform passed: delay implementation until President Obama is out of office.

Noting that Republican leadership this week backtracked on a push to pass immigration reform this year by saying that it would be difficult to pass given that members don’t trust President Obama to enforce the new laws, Schumer said:

There’s 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. Now I think the rap against him, that he won’t enforce the law, is false. He’s deported more people than any other president. But you could actually have the law start in 2017 without doing much violence to it. You’d simply move the date back from December 31 2011 to December 31 2017 for the deadline for when people could get legalization or citizenship so we could go after the new people who come in later, and it would solve the problem.

Although Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) had initially signaled Republicans would push forward on immigration reform this year and Republican leadership released a document outlining their principles, on Thursday he said his caucus won’t be able to move forward until Republicans have more trust in the president. “The American people and including many of my members don’t trust that the reform we’re talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be,” he said. “There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws and it’ll be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”

Schumer is part of the Gang of 8 that came up with a comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in July. His compromise proposal, therefore, carries some weight.

But he is also right that Republicans have little reason to distrust that Obama would enforce any new rules and laws if they were to go into effect. When it comes to immigration law, his administration has deported nearly two million immigrants, and the number of deportations in 2012 beat the Bush administration’s record — or any other record. Illegal entries into the country have also reached a 40-year low while there are more “boots on the ground” at the border than at any other time in history.