Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that the Obama administration will move to provide relief from deportation if the House doesnt act on immigration reform by August.
Weve waited 329 days, said Reid, referring to the number of days since the Senate passed its own immigration reform bill. Were willing to wait another six weeks. But at the end of six weeks, if something hasnt been done, then theres going to have to be a move made.
Reid added that delaying immigration reform is not my preference but that he is willing to show flexibility.
Immigrant families cannot wait any longer
Some immigration reform advocates reacted to Reids comments, saying immigrant families cannot wait another six weeks to get relief from deportation.
Lorella Praeli, director of advocacy and policy at United We Dream stated:
Were encouraged that Sen. Reid acknowledges the urgency of our community and our families, but asking our parents to wait six more weeks when House Republicans have shown no signs of leading on the issue is wrong. Our families need relief now.
She also called on Democrats to push for administrative relief from deportation the same way theyve been pushing for immigration reform. Dozens of Democrats have already come out, asking Obama to halt the deportations of undocumented immigrants who would benefit from immigration reform.
Like Praeli, Erika Andiola, co-director of the Dream Action Coalition, said she was encouraged to see Reid call on Obama to take action. However, she also said Reid is wrong to ask immigrant families to wait another six weeks to get relief from deportation.
By waiting six weeks, Senator Reid fails to hear the voices of the Latino community calling for the President to act now, Andiola stated. Senator Reid fails to understand the gravity of the crisis of deportations and family separation our country faces.
Andiola added that while Republicans have failed Latinos by not taking action on immigration reform, Democrats have also failed Latinos by not doing enough to stop deportations.
Obama blamed for immigration reform delay, again
The Republican National Committee also reacted to Reids remarks. RNC spokeswoman Izzy Santa stated:
Immigration reform becomes important to Democrats when it is election time. Where was Harry Reids daily indignation about the Presidents inaction on family unification when Democrats had a supermajority?
Santa went on to say that Republicans continue to work on immigration reform. However, House Republicans have not approved any legislation ever since the Senate approved its own comprehensive immigration reform bill last June.
House Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly said the GOP-controlled House cannot move on immigration reform until Obama can be trusted to enforce the law. He did so again on Thursday when Fusions Jorge Ramos asked him at a press conference why he was blocking immigration reform.
I think that moving in a piece-by-piece fashion on this in a common-sense way is the way to do it, Boehner said. But the president has responsibility here as well, and when he continues to ignore Obamacare his own law, 38 unilateral delays he reduces the confidence of the American people in his willingness to implement an immigration law the way we would pass it.
So the president has to rebuild this trust if were going to be able to do this, Boehner continued.
To address the issue of mistrust toward Obama, Reid said Thursday Congress could pass a bill this year and have it take effect under a new president in January 2017.
If Republicans dont trust President Obama, lets give them a chance to implement the bill under President Rand Paul or President [Ted] Cruz, Reid said, referring to two Republican senators who could potentially run for president in 2016.