After President Barack Obama's decision to review immigration enforcement , Sen. Charles E. Schumer warned Republicans to let Congress act on the issue or Obama will curtail deportations on his own.
“It's crystal clear where the issue of immigration reform is headed, and Republicans have only two choices to make," the New York Democrat wrote in a post on his Facebook page. "They can either help pass comprehensive reform which will greatly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, grow our economy by bringing in needed workers in high tech and agriculture areas, and provide a hard-earned path to eventual citizenship for the 11 million in the shadows, or they can sit idly by and watch the President greatly curtail deportations while 11 million continue to live in limbo here in America." Democrats have been pressuring House Republicans to pass an immigration package so that a conference committee can hammer out a deal that can pass both chambers. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill last summer.
"The choice is clear; a reform bill has the support of liberals, moderates, and conservatives and all we need is the courage of the Republican leadership to make the right and obvious choice,” Schumer said.
But some conservatives, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, believe that taking on the immigration issue — and especially the debate over legalizing immigrants here illegally — before the midterm elections would hurt Republican chances to take over the Senate. The GOP needs to win six seats to regain the majority.
Schumer's comments come after the president told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus leadership Thursday evening he’s considering more changes to the enforcement of immigration laws , amid growing unrest among his allies over his deportation record.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who led the effort in the Senate against the immigration bill, voiced his displeasure at the president's announcement.
“It is astonishing that the President would order an ‘enforcement review’ not for the purposes of repairing enforcement but weakening it further," Session said in a release.
Session has also been critical of the White House for selectively enforcing the immigration laws, which he contends, when asked, is done to curry political favor with minority voters.
"This latest action further demonstrates that the Administration cannot be trusted to enforce any immigration plan from Congress," Sessions said. "Congressional Democrats, who have helped empower this state of illegality, must be held to account for their actions.”
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, echoed Republican criticism that the president picks and chooses the laws he enforces, such as waiving provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
"Cherry pick more laws he won't enforce?" Cornyn tweeted in response to the headline of this article, Obama Will Reduce Deportations if GOP Doesn't Act, Schumer Says.