Senate Democrats on Thursday insisted that House Republicans should take up comprehensive immigration reform legislation as soon as possible, even if that means delaying its implementation until President Obama is out of office.
"Here's a suggestion," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said to reporters. "Let's pass immigration reform today and make it take effect in 2017... under President Rand Paul or President Theodore Cruz." (Sen. Ted Cruz's full name is, in fact, Rafael Edward Cruz)
Democrats have put up the challenge before in response to the Republican rationale for delaying immigration reform: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio and others maintain the president cannot be trusted to enforce any laws Congress may pass.
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Reid insisted that "the president's proven he'll enforce current immigration law." Furthermore, he said that delaying the implementation of immigration reform is "not my preference."
Still, he said, "We need to get [the reforms] across the finish line." If Republicans reject the Democrats' offer to act now and delay the legislation's implementation, it would "suggest there's never going to be a time when House Republicans are willing to act," Reid added.
If Republicans don't act soon, Democrats threatened, Mr. Obama should feel compelled to make more immigration reforms unilaterally.
"They have about a six-week window from June 10 after the last Republican primary until the August recess," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. "If they don't pass immigration reform, then the president will have no choice but to act on his own... If the president has to act, the only blame will fall on the shoulders of House Republicans."
Noting that the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill 329 days ago, Reid said that they could wait a few more weeks for the House to follow suit. He also said that before ratcheting up pressure on the White House to act, Congress should wait for the upcoming Department of Homeland Security report of the United States' deportation policy.
Mr. Obama has come under increasing pressure from immigration advocates to halt the deportation of undocumented immigrants. His administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other administration and last month surpassed the 2 million mark.
Reid said he expects the DHS report should be finished in at least six weeks. "At the end of six weeks if something hasn't been done, there's going to have to be a move made," he said.