Obama: Midterm elections will decide the fate of immigration reform
May 23rd, 2014
07:41 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama: Midterm elections will decide the fate of immigration reform

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday night before a hometown Chicago crowd that it was up to Congress to move on immigration reform. He predicted that if Democrats don't win big in the midterm elections, the overhaul won't get done.

Obama told supporters at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fund-raiser, "You have a President who is fighting for you in the White House."

"What you do not have right now is a Congress that can function."

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday it's up to Obama to pass immigration reform.

"The President has responsibility here as well," Boehner said.

Many conservatives in the GOP-led House of Representatives view any legislation that includes a pathway toward citizenship tantamount to "amnesty." When the Democratic-controlled Senate approved a bipartisan immigration bill last year that included an eventual path toward citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, the bill stalled in the House.

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Obama's assertion came on the heels of remarks Thursday by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, that the President will act on his own if Republicans don't pass immigration reform soon.

Speaking alongside Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Congress should pass immigration reform now and let it take effect in 2017.

"If Republicans don't trust President Obama, let's give them a chance to implement the bill under President Rand Paul or President Theodore Cruz," Reid said, referring to two possible GOP presidential contenders in 2016.

Schumer said Republicans had until the August recess to pass an immigration reform bill. "If they don't pass immigration reform then, the President will have no choice but to act on his own. We'd much rather pass legislation," he said.

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Speaking at his weekly press conference, Boehner said he has talked immigration reform since the day after the 2012 election and has said repeatedly it's an issue Congress needs to tackle.

"I made it clear we're not going to deal with the Senate bill, a 1,300-page bill that no one has read. And we're not going to do it," he said.

Schumer said Republicans will lose the presidency, the Senate and House if they don't move on immigration. And Obama on Thursday night said that it would take Democrats winning Congress to move on immigration.

"If we do not hang on to the Senate and make gains in the House," said Obama, speaking at a private residence, "we may not get immigration reform done, which means we could have another three, four years, in which we're being deprived of talent we're training here in the United States - they go back home and start businesses someplace else."

With no support in the House for a comprehensive immigration package, Boehner insisted Thursday upon a piecemeal approach to legislation.

"I think that moving in a piece-by-piece fashion on this in a common-sense way is the way to do this," he said.

Boehner attributed the failure to pass immigration legislation on the President losing the American people's trust because of Obamacare.

"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," he said.


Filed under: 2014 • President Obama
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Galactus

    NO AMNESTY – Deport all illegal aliens. President Obama is a traitor to the American people. We want our immigration laws enforced.

    May 23, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. bill

    AND the VA
    AND IRS
    AND employment
    AND stopping government take over of land
    AND power to stop this communist CHANGE.
    AND no pen no phone

    this president has taken us so far to the left Lenin is out of his grave celebrating our downfall. Alinsky Revolution is obama CHANGE plan-create a population dependent upon government for 1. healthcare 2. income 3. housing so this group will support the CHANGE obama wants-where did Alinsky get this info?? from Lenin-who's CHANGE is what Stalin used to CHANGE Russia in what is called "Stalin's idiots". AND ALL THIS IS THE NAME OF HELPING THE POOR, THE HOMELESS,ETC-but creating more co-dependents.

    May 23, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Peace

    Pres. Obama is quite right. If republicans will take both Chambers in Nov. immigration will die its natural death. Those who really think immigration is important to them, must come all and vote in Nov. Once you give the President the gears he needs, he will for sure act immediately. Take a minute and think a little bit. You voted him in, in order to help you. You must also give him whatever he needs to fulfill your requirements. It is as simple as that!

    May 23, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Sniffit

    "The people don't want the law changed so congress isn't going to change it."

    Polls say differently, Captain Babytalk. But that's ok...we're all very well aware that the constant "we the people" and "everyone agrees with us" mantras the GOP/Teatrolls perseverate on are really just designed as delusion maintenance.

    May 23, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. sonny chapman

    ONE man could make Immigration Reform happen TOMORROW. His name is John Boehner. He is the ONLY man that can ALLOW A VOTE on the already Passed Senate Bill reach the House Floor where it will pass & become Law w/strong Bi-Partisans Support. This one ain't complicated folks.

    May 23, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Sniffit

    "Both sides are failing to work together. Just yesterday, a bill to improve the situation at the VA stalled in the Dem controlled Senate. Their explantion was they didn`t have time to read it (it was three pages).

    Knee jerk "fixes" that sound nice and are hard to oppose because they sound nice and are popular won't get the job done. Making it easier to fire managers involved in the kind of wrongdoing alleged here is a good thing, but the mechanics of it are important, it's interaction with federal employment laws and regulations is important, etc., and it actually does raise some complicated issues. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the only one who "blocked" it and that's because he's the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee and is scheduling hearings to address the entire issue. Sure, it'd be nice to rush off and get us some scalps so we can hang a few folks' careers in effigy, but is that really a solution? What does that solve other than making people feel that vengeance is being meted out? How does it actually address the systemic problems the VA has suffered for decades? I have no doubt that something like what the House passed will be incorporated in whatever solution is arrived at, but it doesn't exactly solve anything substantive right now for us to make it super easy for people to be summarily fired, just so politicians, interest groups and the MSM can have their "faces of the scandal."

    And let's get real: the GOP/Teatrolls proposed this so they could yell and scream that "nothing is being done" simply because we're not seeing any scalps drying in the sun yet. The Dems in the House, spineless turds that they generally are, went along with it because they were afraid it would look bad to say "hey, this is nothing more than symbolic bandaid legislation, when we should be looking for a comprehensive understanding of the problems and comprehensive solutions to them."

    May 23, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. magyart

    Everyday, this President reduces enforcement of immigration laws. Many illegal immigrate stakeholders are asking him to use executive orders to legalize the status of millions of illegal residents. I say this deserves impeachment, for failing to abide by federal law.

    May 23, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. Sniffit

    And BTW, smith, the bill was pushed by Concerned Veterans for America, which is headed by Pete Hegseth, who is a dyed-in-the-wool ideologue conservative who has run for Senate as a GOPer, worked at a super-conservative "think tank," is a Faux News analyst and contributes to the National Review. His rhetoric mirrors the crap the rest of the GOP/Teatrolls are spewing about this, including Limbaugh, and is designed to place all the blame for all of it on Obama. For example, like trying to blame Obama alone for the "backlog exploding on Obama's watch." Yeah, well, that's what happens when you end the wars and bring most everyone home and yet the people who pushed the war in the first place not only failed to fund the war itself, but also failed FROM THE GET-GO to fund the completely predictable and foreseeable increased need for troop health care and medical treatment as a result of the wars. It's a failure across the board here...from EVERYONE involved...and legislative stunts and rhetoric designed to try to blame it all on Obama is simply dishonest.

    May 23, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. rs

    It's quite clear that the GOP will continue its "do-nothing" strategy until such time as it suits them. I guess the fact that dealing with broken families, abused workers and uncollected taxes (that could go to enhancing the budget and deficit issues) naturally means nothing to them.

    This, friends, is politics and party before people. It is unpatriotic, and anti-American.

    May 23, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. rs

    Dean

    First, implement more stringent border security. Then apprehend those illegals who have committed crimes and deport them. Watch the crime rate drop. Then deport the remaining illegals. Watch the crime rate drop further. Then start on the liberals...
    _______________________
    Sure- a boarder fence is about $1 million per mile. Flights to many central and South American cities are $400 and up. Incarceration costs (on average) $40,000 per person per year. Leave it to the Right to come up with the most expensive, least doable solution- all the while moaning about taxes.

    How about this? The Senate's immigration reform bill (the one the House GOP won't vote on) saves $50-$100 billion a year in costs to tax payers. Why not try that?

    May 23, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    We do not needs reform. We need to enforce out current laws! Deport illegals, do not reward them!

    May 23, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. rs

    yolanda

    And it's a shame that he isn't fighting for all Americans, rather than for Democrats and illegals. It is a sad day for our country when a president no longer even pretends to represent all citizens.
    __________________
    Yeah, right. And, who does the GOP represent these days? The rich, the corporations, and the Koch brothers- maybe 5% of America.

    May 23, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    Steve – " I support the president on most issues, but not on immigration reform. We need to stop people who just ignore our laws."

    ABSOLUTELY.

    Legalizing another 12 million who have no regard for our laws and will, once legal, become more competition for our struggling middle class, will create many problems for legal residents of this country. The first duty of our government is to work for those citizens of this country.

    May 23, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. just someone

    Tampa Tim

    Gunny – over 295 million Americans are now insured. The lowest percent of uninsured in years. It appears that the real train wreck is the republican shut down party. Tell Hannity I said, "Hi,"
    --------------------–

    My son got Obamacare and with government assistance he only has to pay $100 a month. The problem is he has to choose between the Obamacare bill, his used car loan, his rent or something else. There was a trip to the hospital for him. I asked, did your Obamacare help? He said no, I had to pay everything out of my pocket. His Obamacare policy has a $7000 deductable. How many young people will need $7,000 of healthcare in a year? That means he has to pay $8,200 out of his pocket before he gets anything from your great obamacare . Does that make sense to you? Sure there is a lower number of uninsured, but their insurance is not helping them. And now I hear that the government is going to pay the insurance companies what they have lost. If they pay out nothing but take in the premiums along with the Gvt supplement how are they losing?

    May 23, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. smith1

    unfortunately this congress is packed full of a bunch of big mouth do nothing repos. If they had a bill of 1200 pages in 2012 and repos still haven't read it. That says a lot. They have no intention of passing anything. 5 years and congress can't find anything to do besides repeal healthcare and holler Benghazi. Get rid of these clowns.

    May 23, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Bill from GA

    Chris-E...al – " Shhhhh the sheep and goats (Dem) are sneaking out of the barn coming slowly running fixing to jump the fence in fear of 0bama . "

    I don't agree with President Obama maybe 30% of the time, but he is miles ahead of ANY republican.

    May 23, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "Everyday, this President reduces enforcement of immigration laws."

    Record deportations.
    Records numbers of deportations with actual charges, as opposed to simple "returns" (by charging, it subjects the deported person to imprisonment and
    70% increase in deported criminals.
    Record number of troops/patrol on the border.
    Record amount of tech, including drones, being used to patrol the border.
    Segments of the Hispanic community angry with him and calling him the "deporter-in-chief."
    The list goes on...

    Teatroll conclusion: he's not doing anything to enforce the laws.

    Brass tacks: it's because they think a brown man would naturally try to "brown up" the country and they're dogwhistling that bigoted assumption.

    May 23, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. rs

    Gunderson

    Um, Sorry,
    It isn't the President's job, the Congress's job or the government to hold your hand. Believe it or not, the U.S. Constitution gives you the right, and duty to take care of yourself. Those places where welfare is needed, should be done by each state. The sooner you get that thru your thick head, the better off you will be.

    There is already laws in place that address immigration. Millions are already using it. With all the other screw up's this administration has immigration reform is a pipe dream. The people don't want the law changed so congress isn't going to change it. For a look at what immigration reform will look like just look at Obama Care. A Total Disaster.
    _______________________
    Gundy-How do you explain that under this President more people have been deported than at any time or under any administration in American history? You are simply delusional. Here's a civics lesson:
    You want laws? Congress (now strangled by the do-nothing welfare-queen members of the GOP) won't pass any.
    You want laws enforced? Yeah, that costs money, and the same do-nothing GOPpers are too busy shredding the budget to give the rich their lowest tax rates in history. You idiots think government is free.
    As to what the people want- well the GOP is on the losing side of pretty much everything. Americans want a higher minimum wage; they want immigration reform; they want more effective background checks for gun buyers; they want access to health care; they want equal marriage rights for Gays. This isn't 1600 anymore Gundy, time to wake up!

    May 23, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. rs

    Galactus

    NO AMNESTY – Deport all illegal aliens. President Obama is a traitor to the American people. We want our immigration laws enforced.
    _______________________
    There is no amnesty in the bill passed by the Senate. The House simply will not vote for it.

    May 23, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. rs

    magyart

    Everyday, this President reduces enforcement of immigration laws. Many illegal immigrate stakeholders are asking him to use executive orders to legalize the status of millions of illegal residents. I say this deserves impeachment, for failing to abide by federal law.
    _________________________
    You realize your assertion is completely false, right? And you've been told that to promote the GOP's crazy idea that they somehow can impeach another sitting President of the United States as a way of solving the problem with their own massive unpopularity.
    True delusionalism in action!

    May 23, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Donna

    Thanks for sounding the call to arms for all Americans that believe in the rule of law and the enforcement of our laws. If you love this country and believe it belongs to American citizens, then you simply cannot vote for a Democrat.

    Democrats have supported and continue to support massive illegal activities when it comes to immigration and have simply refused to enforce our borders or our laws. The Obama adminstration has caught and released on the streets nearly 750,000 illegal aliens every year. Their published deportation numbers have now been shown to be fraudulent.

    Don't sell your country down the tubes. Support your country and its laws. Throw criminal supporting Demorcats OUT.

    May 23, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. smith

    @Sniffit- The point is both parties are failing to work together. The house puts up a bill and it stalls in the senate and vice versa. The bill I mentioned was just a recent example.

    May 23, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Sniffit

    "Everyday, this President reduces enforcement of immigration laws."

    Record deportations.
    Records numbers of deportations with actual charges, as opposed to simple "returns" (by charging, it subjects the deported person to penalties and even imprisonment if found back in the US later).
    70% increase in deported criminals.
    Record number of troops/patrol on the border.
    Record amount of tech, including drones, being used to patrol the border.
    Segments of the Hispanic community angry with him and calling him the "deporter-in-chief."
    The list goes on...

    Teatroll conclusion: he's not doing anything to enforce the laws.

    Brass tacks: it's because they think a brown man would naturally try to "brown up" the country and they're dogwhistling that bigoted assumption.

    May 23, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. just asking

    yeah, right... "comprehensive immigration refrorm"??? you mean just like the democrats reformed/destroyed our healthcare system with obamacare???!!! wake up america!!! Obama is asking you to support a party that wants to support and aid illegals in this country. they pulled this very same scam in the 80's and here we are again, with a bigger problem. how many times are you going to listen to their lies and be conned?!!

    May 23, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. smith

    @Sniffit-The problems at the VA aren`t Obama`s fault but your no better than those people spewing that fodder when you imply its Bush`s fault. The problems at the VA are decades old.

    May 23, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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