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Obama: 'Time Hasn't Run Out' on Lame-Duck Congress Amnesty Bill

Obama: 'Time Hasn't Run Out' on Lame-Duck Congress Amnesty Bill

After Democrats got trounced in last week’s midterms in part because voters disapproved of Barack Obama on illegal immigration, the President said one of the messages he took away from the election was that he and Congress needed to act to grant amnesty to nearly all of the country’s illegal immigrants.

On CBS’s Face the Nation, Obama even urged those in the lame-duck Congress–some of whom were thrown out by voters because of illegal immigration–to pass an amnesty bill, saying “time hasn’t run out” on the lame-duck Congress to pass amnesty legislation that would permanently legalize nearly all of the country’s illegal immigrants. Despite significant opposition which prevented the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” bill from becoming law, Obama even said that “nobody’s stopping ’em” from passing a bill. 

“I’m going to do what I can do through executive action,” Obama insisted. “It’s not going to be everything that needs to get done. And it will take time to put that in place.” 

Obama said that he would be “implementing an executive action” on a “parallel track” to a potential bill, which he said would “supersede” his executive action the minute it passes. Obama, as he has said many times before, said if Congress does not pass an amnesty bill that will be “permanent rather than temporary” by the end of the year, then he would enact his executive amnesty. Republican leaders warned last week that enacting an exective amnesty would kill a potential bill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said a GOP-led Congress should “deal” with immigration reform. Pro-amnesty advocates had previously expressed hope that an amnesty bill could be the final act of the lame-duck Congress. 

Obama also blamed the lack of an amnesty bill for the federal government’s inability to deport “dangerous” illegal immigrants. He said that “every day that I wait” for an amnesty bill, “we’re misallocating resources, we’re deporting people that shouldn’t be deported, we’re not deporting folks that are dangerous and need to be deported.” 

Speaking to host Bob Schieffer about the midterms, Obama simply stated, “we got beat.” Obama, who delayed his executive amnesty until after the midterms because Senate Democrats begged him to help them save their seats, then the “the message that I took from this election” is that “people want to see this city work.”

To Obama, that means pushing for a pathway to citizenship for nearly all of the country’s illegal immigrants. He said that “millions of people” who have lived in the country illegally should “have a capacity to legalize themselves here” after “they pay a fine, they pay penalties, they learn English,” and get back to the end of the line. 

“Everyone agrees on that,” Obama claimed, even though at least three national polls taken before the midterms found that a plurality of Americans were “less likely” to vote for those who supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. In addition, immigration was Obama’s worst issue heading into the midterms, and exit polls showed that 75% of Americans rejected Obama’s executive amnesty while another 80% did not want more foreigners taking jobs from Americans and legal immigrants already here.

Obama claimed that while the “economy has improved significantly,” but conceded that “wages haven’t gone up, incomes haven’t gone up” and Americans are having trouble saving for retirement and paying tuition for their kids. As Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow has repeatedly emphasized in letters to Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus, massive amnesty legislation would lower the wages of Americans, particularly black Americans, whose 10.9% unemployment rate is the worst among all groups. The Congressional Budget Office has also determined that the Senate’s massive “Gang of Eight” amnesty legislation would lower the wages of American workers over the next decade. 

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