Reid sets August deadline for immigration reform

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that the Obama administration will move to provide relief from deportation if the House doesn’t act on immigration…

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has set an August deadline for the House to act on immigration reform. He said that if the House fails to act by then, Obama will take action to halt deportations. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that the Obama administration will move to provide relief from deportation if the House doesn’t act on immigration reform by August.

“We’ve waited 329 days,” said Reid, referring to the number of days since the Senate passed its own immigration reform bill. “We’re willing to wait another six weeks. But at the end of six weeks, if something hasn’t been done, then there’s 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.”

SEE ALSO: Obama says there’s a ‘very narrow window’ to get immigration reform done

Immigrant families cannot wait any longer

Some immigration reform advocates reacted to Reid’s 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:

“We’re 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 they’ve 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.

SEE ALSO: Latinos are disproportionately affected by deportations

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 Reid’s remarks. RNC spokeswoman Izzy Santa stated:

“Immigration reform becomes important to Democrats when it is election time. Where was Harry Reid’s daily indignation about the President’s 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.

SEE ALSO: Boehner says ‘vast majority’ of Republicans want immigration reform

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 Fusion’s 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 we’re 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 don’t trust President Obama, let’s 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.

SEE ALSO: Tea party and conservative leaders push for immigration reform