Top Senate Democrats who once egged on President Barack Obama to go big on executive amnesty are now punting on the issue after numerous polls have shown that illegal immigration could cost Democrats control of the Senate.
Politico asked the offices of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign, about Obama’s potential executive amnesty for millions more illegal immigrants. They all either refused to answer or said the ball was in Obama’s court.
Durbin and Schumer were in the “Gang of Eight” that pushed for a comprehensive amnesty bill, and Reid has been one of the most vocal proponents of executive action and comprehensive amnesty legislation.
But as Politico noted, Senate Democrats “want little ownership” of the issue, because they know it may cost them their leadership posts. But they do not want to criticize or publicly discourage Obama from enacting executive amnesty so as not to depress their pro-amnesty activist base.
Republican Senate candidates in New Hampshire (Scott Brown), Arkansas (Tom Cotton), Michigan (Terry Lynn Land), Alaska (Joe Miller), and Louisiana (Rob Maness) have made illegal immigration a big issue in their campaigns. Other Democrats like Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) are also vulnerable because of the issue.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has started to distance herself from Obama on executive amnesty, and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AK) has publicly said he was against it.
After new media outlets like Breitbart News changed public opinion on the illegal immigration issue, Republicans have been more willing to ignore their consultants and embrace the issue.
An Associated Press poll found that 68% of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of illegal immigration, while 90% felt it was a serious concern. A recent Reuters poll found that 70% of Americans believe illegal immigration threatens “traditional U.S. beliefs and customs,” and “63% believe illegal immigration burdens the U.S. economy.”