senator suggests quick approval, delayed enactment of immigration law
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[February 10, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S.
immigration reforms could be passed now but enacted after President
Barack Obama leaves office if Republicans fear he will not enforce the
new rules, a key Democratic senator said Sunday, offering a way to
achieve one of Obama's main policy objectives.
Last week, Republican House Speaker John Boehner expressed doubts
Obama's long-sought overhaul of immigration laws would be passed
this year and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said there was
little interest in the issue with congressional elections looming in
Boehner said one of the biggest obstacles to immigration reform in
the House was a concern that Obama would not fully enforce any laws
that might be approved. As evidence of that, he accused him of
changing "the healthcare law on a whim, whenever he likes".
On NBC's "Meet the Press" program, Senator Charles Schumer, a New
York Democrat and one of chief architects of the Senate's bipartisan
immigration plan, offered what he said was 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," he said.
"Now, I think the rap against him that he won't enforce the law is
false. He's deported more people than any president but you could
actually have the law start in 2017 without doing much violence to
Schumer said it would be difficult to pass immigration reform in
2015 or 2016 when the next presidential election season opens
because Republican candidates would be staking out conservative
positions on immigration in order to differentiate themselves from
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Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio who has been active on
immigration, said "some Republicans would be interested" in
Schumer's idea about delayed enactment, especially if there were
measures to increase border security and prevent employers from
hiring undocumented workers.
In June, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill that would provide a
path to citizenship for those in the country illegally and tighten
The bill stalled in the House, where many lawmakers oppose offering
legal status for some 11 million people who live in the United
(Writing by Bill Trott;
editing by Jim Loney and Sophie Hares)
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