Update 2/10/2014: A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner responded to Schumer's idea.
"The suggestion is entirely impractical, since it would totally eliminate the President's incentive to enforce immigration law for the remainder of his term," said Michael Steel, Boehner's spokesman.
Washington (CNN) – When House Speaker John Boehner abruptly announced Thursday that he didn’t see a way forward on immigration reform this year, he said President Obama was part of the reason.
“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner said. “And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”
In a bit of a jab at Boehner – and perhaps as a way to force the issue during an election year in which Republicans might like to avoid fighting among themselves over immigration - Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, proposed a workaround.
“They want to do immigration reform, but they don't trust the president to enforce the law, particularly the enforcement parts. So there's a simple solution,” Schumer told NBC’s David Gregory. “Let's enact the law this year, but simply not let it actually start till 2017 after President Obama's term is over.”
“Now, I think the rap against him that he won't enforce the law (is) false. He's deported more people than any other president,” Schumer continued.
However, several other prominent Republicans echoed Boehner’s misgivings about Obama’s commitment to enforcement.
“There is a big trust deficit right now,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “When you do big things poorly like this administration has done with Obamacare, you can understand with a complex issue like immigration reform that there’s a lot of lack of trust among House Republicans.”
"I was at the conference where this was discussed, and I will tell you there is a great deal of skepticism and concern," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, on ABC’s “This Week.”
Cole said people read too deeply into Boehner’s comments and that, while the political reality is that Republicans disagree among themselves, certain elements of immigration reform could pass the House.
“We've begun a dialogue and conversation inside the Republican conference on this,” Cole said. “I think step-by-step progress is still out there. Whether or not Democrats want work that way I think is unclear. But you could clearly get a border security bill through. I think you can get H1B visas through. I think you could get seasonal labor. So I think there's still a path there.”
Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, said Republicans are the ones failing on the immigration front.
"There's no doubt the President was told if he works on the border, the Republican caucus will work with him on passing the bill. He's done his part. They have failed to do their part. And It's obvious the speaker got a lot of pushback from somebody in his caucus who he has to listen to, and so he changed course,“ Ellison said on “This Week.” “I don't think it’s political courage, and I was really disappointed."