On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gave House Republicans six weeks to pass amnesty legislation before President Barack Obama starts to use executive actions to ease deportations and change immigration laws.
“We’ve waited 329 days, we’re willing to wait another six weeks,” Reid said, according to Politico. “But at the end of six weeks, if something hasn’t been done, then there’s gonna have to be a move made. And it’s too bad we have to do that, because we all know things can be done administratively, but it’s better to change the law.”
Schumer, who has previously said there could be legislation by “June or July,” concurred.
“They have about a six-week window, from June 10 after the last Republican primary until the August recess. If they don’t pass immigration reform them, the president will have no choice but to act on his own,” he said, according to The Hill.
Schumer, along with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), has said that this year is the last chance to pass sweeping amnesty legislation. The New York Democrat has also suggested that Congress pass the Senate’s amnesty bill, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers, but delay the implementation of it until Obama leaves office in 2017. Reid also endorsed Schumer’s suggestion, which would give amnesty to all illegal immigrants who arrived in the country before 2014.
House Republicans have said they would not proceed on amnesty legislation until they could trust Obama to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, but Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told PBS’s Judy Woodruff last week that the administration was on the verge of enacting executive actions to ease deportations. Pro-amnesty advocates have been pushing the Obama administration to act, calling Obama the “deporter-in-chief,” which even Obama’s former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano debunked.
If Congress does not pass amnesty legislation this year, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has said GOP leaders would “absolutely” try next year if they gain the majority. Business executives like Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue have said that passing amnesty legislation during the lame-duck session was a fallback position and could be the final act of this Congress.