The Conversation

Democrats at Odds with Obama over Executive Amnesty

If you want to know where a Democrat stands on the issue of immigration, all you need ask is if they have to face the voters in less than a deep blue state in November.

With Obama contemplating what would amount to an "executive amnesty," the rhetoric between threatened Democrats and the White House is heating up.

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

"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.

With Obama said to be "preparing executive actions on immigration, likely to be announced next month", he may have more to do with whether or not Democrats can maintain control of the Senate in an already difficult political environment due to his unpopularity. A wrong move would likely precipitate something of a jail break away from the president by Democrats at risk in less than safe states come November.

... 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.


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