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    Obama's Immigration Plans Irk Some Democrats

    Obama's Immigration Plans Irk Some Democrats

    Candidates in Red-State Senate Races Don't Back Expected Obama Order to Ease Deportations

    Aug. 25, 2014 7:35 p.m. ET

    Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas Associated Press

    WASHINGTON—As President Barack Obama contemplates moves to scale back deportations of illegal immigrants, he is courting a battle not just with Republicans but with a few members of his own party.
    Some conservative-state Democrats, all in tough election fights this fall, say Mr. Obama would be making an inappropriate end-run around Congress if he were to act on his own to ratchet back deportations.
    That leaves Mr. Obama caught between advocates for immigrants, who have pressed him to ease deportations, and some red-state Democrats who say the matter should be left to Congress—an argument also made by Republican lawmakers.

    "This is an issue that I believe should be addressed legislatively, and not through executive order," said Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

    The president has said he is preparing executive actions on immigration, likely to be announced next month, because House Republicans have refused to pass an immigration overhaul. Such a move may not be popular in the Republican-leaning states where the battle for control of the Senate is being fought.

    "I, too, am frustrated with the partisanship in Washington," Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) said in a statement. "But that doesn't give the president carte blanche authority to sidestep Congress when he doesn't get his way."

    Sen. Mark Begich (D., Alaska), another endangered incumbent, has expressed similar concerns directly to senior White House officials, an aide said. "To me, securing our borders has to be the priority, and that should be the president's focus," Mr. Begich said in a statement.

    In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat hoping to unseat Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, also has said Mr. Obama would be wrong to use executive orders to set immigration policy. Like the other Democrats, she blames the GOP for blocking legislation.

    Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina Associated Press

    White House officials say they are examining the law, and the president won't take any action that exceeds his authority.

    A bipartisan immigration bill passed the Senate last year but died in the GOP-controlled House. Many Republicans there opposed the legislation as a form of "amnesty'' for people who broke the law by entering the country without authorization, while some wanted to avoid a GOP fight in an election year.

    Republican Senate candidates have already been attacking Democrats, arguing that lax immigration rules have drawn new illegal migrants.

    GOP strategists are encouraging Republican candidates to pounce if Mr. Obama acts alone to ease deportations and suggest they call any action "executive amnesty'' for illegal immigrants.

    "Executive amnesty would be the political equivalent of a nuclear explosion for Democratic candidates," predicted Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He said it would "inject adrenaline into an electorate already eager to send him a message of disapproval."

    Mr. Obama's administration has deported a record number of people in the U.S. illegally, prompting loud protests from immigrant advocates.

    Pressure remains intense from immigrant-rights groups for Mr. Obama to give millions of illegal immigrants safe harbor from deportation. Senate Democratic leaders have said Mr. Obama should act unilaterally if the House failed to move legislation this summer, offering the White House a measure of cover for its expected action.

    Sen. Mark Begich (D., Alaska) Associated Press

    The president has a range of options. He is almost certain to refine the priorities used to determine which illegal immigrants are pursued for deportation. For instance, the president may say that people who have immigration violations on their records, but no other criminal convictions, aren't priorities.

    A bigger move would be to expand an existing program that shelters from deportation some 700,000 people brought to the U.S. as young people. New groups provided similar shelter could include the undocumented parents of these people or of U.S. citizens.

    Activists are worried the White House will back down in the face of pressure from red-state Democrats. A coalition of immigrant-rights groups called FIRM recently released an open letter to Democrats saying: "Any attempts by our 'allies' in Congress to delay or dilute administrative reforms will be viewed as a betrayal of Latino and immigrant communities with serious and lasting consequences."

    Frank Sharry, who leads the immigrant-rights group America's Voice, said Democrats would gain long-term advantages from broad executive actions by Mr. Obama, starting in 2016, when the Latino vote will be critical to the presidential contest, like it was in 2012.

    "Democrats will be defined at the party who stick up for immigrants, and Republicans will be known as the party that sticks it to immigrants," he said.

    But for endangered senators, a sweeping move to protect undocumented immigrants poses problems, said a Democratic strategist working on Senate campaigns, because it puts immigration into the news in states where it is politically difficult to defend illegal immigrants.

    Here is a list of who voted for & against the bill:Senators voting to approve the bill (68, include: Alexander (R-TN) Ayotte (R-NH) Baldwin (R-WI) Baucus (D-MT) Begich (D-AK) Bennet (D-CO) Blumenthal (D-CT) Boxer (D-CA) Brown (D-OH) Cantwell (D-WA) Cardin (D-MD) Carper (D-DE) Casey (D-PA) Chiesa (R-NJ) Cochran (R-MS) Collins (R-ME) Coons (D-DE) Corker (R-TN) Cowan (D-MA) Donnelly (D-IN) Durbin (D-IL) Feinstein (D-CA) Flake (R-AZ) Franken (D-MN) Gillibrand (D-NY) Graham (R-SC) Hagan (D-NC) Harkin (D-IA) Hatch (R-UT) Heinrich (D-NM) Heitkamp (D-ND) Heller (R-NV) Hirono (D-HI) Hoeven (R-ND) Kaine (D-VA) King (D-ME) Kirk (R-IL) Klobuchar (D-MN) Landrieu (D-LA) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI) Manchin (D-WV) McCain (R-AZ) McCaskill (D-MO) Menendez (D-NJ) Merkeley (D-OR) Mikulski (D-MD) Moran (R-KS) Murkowski (R-AK) Murphy (D-CT) Murray (D-WA) Nelson (D-FL) Pryor (D-AR) Reed (D-RI) Reid (D-NV) Rockefeller (D-WV) Rubio (R-FL) Sanders (I-VT) Schatz (D-HI) Schumer (D-NY) Shaheen (D-NH) Stanebow (D-MI) Tester (R-MT) Udall (D-CO) Udall (D-NM) Warner (D-VA) Warren (D-MA) Whitehouse (D-RI) Wyden (D-OR)

    Senators voting against the bill(32): Barrasso (R-WY) Blunt (R-MO) Boozman (R-AR) Burr (R-NC) Chambliss (R-GA) Coats (R-IN) Coburn (R-OK) Cornyn (R-TX) Crapo (R-ID) Cruz (R-TX) Enzi (R-WY) Fischer (R-NE) Inhofe (R-OK) Isakson (R-GA) Grassley (R-IA) Lee (R-UT) McConnell (R-KY) Paul (R-KY) Portman (R-OH) Risch (R-ID) Roberts (R-KS) Scott (R-SC) Sessions (R-AL) Shelby (R-AL) Thune (R-SD) Toomey (R-PA) Vitter (R-LA) Wicker (R-MS)
    Last edited by Newmexican; 08-26-2014 at 07:54 PM.
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