Democrat Senators Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have both now warned Barack Obama against taking “any steps without the approval of Congress” when it comes to dealing with the current illegal immigration crisis.
“I’m not for government by executive order. He needs to have statutory authority before he acts,” said Pryor. Meanwhile, via Politico, a spokeswoman for Hagan said, “this is a problem that needs to be solved legislatively and not through executive action.”
Additionally, Democrat Senators Landrieu of Louisiana and Begich of Alaska are also urging Obama to act with restraint. “We want him to be careful not to go too far,” said Begich. Politico defines his stance as something of a “red line” for Obama.
That red line, in Begich’s view, is providing temporary legal status to all 8 million undocumented immigrants who would’ve qualified under a bill passed last year in the Senate. Hispanic lawmakers and immigrant rights groups are demanding that the president do just that.
What the issue effectively does is drive a huge wedge between the progressive Democrat base and swing voters many Democrats will need to survive in a difficult political year. And it isn’t only vulnerable Democrats in so-called Red States that are afraid to even go near the topic.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) (D-Minn.) declined through a spokesman to talk about it. Some offices, including those of Sens. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) (D-Va.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) (D-Ore.), didn’t respond to requests for comment. Other senators didn’t want to get into details.
“I’m not going to speculate,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) (D-N.H.). “Congress needs to act on the issue. Once I see what he is proposing, I will be in a better position to comment.”
Unfortunately for Democrats, what with an emboldened GOP, a weak and increasingly unpopular Obama in the White House and opinion polls showing Obama’s and many Democrat’s stance on immigration is a real loser with voters, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to avoid the issue for long.
The attempt to create distance with Obama highlights the discomfort among some Democrats. An executive action deferring deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants could be a boon to the national party as it heads into the 2016 presidential election. It isn’t considered such a clear winner in the Republican-leaning states that dominate the 2014 midterm map….
Obama’s decision as to what, if any, executive action he might take is set to be announced “just weeks before Election Day” in November. What that decision is could be the pivotal factor in whether or not the Democrats retain control of the Senate for the final two years of Obama’s second term.