Obama: Midterm elections will decide the fate of immigration reform
May 23rd, 2014
07:41 AM ET
6 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. Gurgyl

    --the most Horrible congress ever I found in my entire life. Obstruction. Yes, this nation is at long overdue to pass and implement immigration, voter, term-limits, earmark, filibuster reforms. I bet only this type of president does these. Hillary16.

    May 23, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  2. MaryM

    You know it makes Americans really angry that republicans in the House wont get anything done or do their freaking job for America.

    May 23, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  3. 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...

    May 23, 2014 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  4. 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. And no, I'm not a "hater", but rather a realist. And th Republicans are not one iota better. We are doomed unless something big change for both parties.

    May 23, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Then let the Dems lose ALL of those contests, so that America does not destroy itself, with misplaced sympathy for those who simply want to take a free ride on the backs of Americans.

    May 23, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  6. TONE


    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. And no, I'm not a "hater", but rather a realist. And th Republicans are not one iota better. We are doomed unless something big change for both parties.

    What about healthcare for all Americans, minimum wage increase, a jobs bill that republicans shot down, i do not think it is truthful to say that the President does not represent all Americans it's down right dishonest.

    May 23, 2014 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  7. turd cruzin

    Thank you for your candor Mr.speaker, now go pack your stuff and get ready to leave, their excuses as to why they simply won't act on issues Americans want resolved are getting harder to swallow everyday . Always an excuse, never anything that helps our workforce. How many times have we heard the gop tell us they want, and are willing to act on these types of issues that have been polled enough to get a good understanding of what the majority wants, but always has some excuse not to vote on it, tax cuts were the same, if the 1% didn't get theirs, you weren't getting yours. Every action they take is for the rich, but they are all yo willing yo blow smoke up your as.s so you think they just weren't quite able to get the Democrats to help you, you've got to be pretty dense to continue to buy their BS.

    May 23, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  8. turd cruzin

    Dean, you are just so unbelievably uninformed, wholly crap your clueless!!! One day the right complains he's not enforcing the laws, the next he's deporter in chief, make up your simple little minds already. Very typical of the gop, blame him no matter what he does, you really don't understand, at this point, your the problem! Stop listening and do some research already, for crying out loud, is that really that difficult?

    May 23, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. 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.

    May 23, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. Steve

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

    May 23, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  11. TONE

    Rick McDaniel

    Then let the Dems lose ALL of those contests, so that America does not destroy itself, with misplaced sympathy for those who simply want to take a free ride on the backs of Americans.

    You are not actually calling out who is taking a free ride on Americans back, what about your republican/tea party, and their rich buddies who is paying less taxes than their secretaries, corporate welfare, and last but not least the red states mooching off of the blue states because of irresponsible trickle down failed economic plans implemented by republican governors.

    May 23, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  12. 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 .

    May 23, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    --friend, Obamacare is a blessing, if you don't believe me, ask people who were denied Healthcare access due to pre-existing condition, kids denied on ESCHIP, BCBS overcharged, Hospital did un-needed tests, doctors robbing over Medicare fraud. Long list. Greed by insurance and doctors, Hospitals, pharmacy was an outcome of this.

    May 23, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  14. smith

    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).

    May 23, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  15. 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,"

    May 23, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  16. Chris-E...al

    I have never seen a prez that cares so little about our jailed american citizens abroad its just sorry .

    May 23, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  17. turd cruzin

    Smith, hook in mouth? There is more to it than that: tell the whole story for continued credibility: you were doing so good

    May 23, 2014 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    The republican house passed a bill to make it easier to fire people in the VA. That is a superficial approach to an huge problem that needs actual thought, not politicizing.

    May 23, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  19. wigglwagon

    Why does the Democratic Party insist on replacing American workers with illegal workers?

    May 23, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  20. Greg

    John Boehner you are not a leader :((( I will never vote republican again

    May 23, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. chill485

    Boehner, if you can't manage to read 1300 pages in a year since the Senate bill was passed, maybe your constituents should elect somebody with reading comprehension skills. The Senate bill would pass in a heartbeat if you allowed it to be brought to the floor. Instead your are stuck on that anti-democratic (little d) Hastert rule putting party ahead of country. I have a hard time making up my mind if Gingrich or Hastert was the worst Speaker ever for the damage they did to this country and its politics.

    May 23, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. george

    there is no immigration reform gona pass bye bye i believe for ever.
    clearly the president are not gona solve it and the gop will never solve it.
    i feel pain inside me for those undocumented years and years of suffering and waiting for a solution in a land that should be heaven for them.

    May 23, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. gonzalez

    You guys are ridiculous.
    Unless you're Native American; you are an Illegal as well. You guys think that kicking the illegals out is gonna make a difference? In fact, it would make matters worse for ya'll proud "Citizens". Have you ever thought about how much work you guys would have to do? No because you guys being fed by a golden spoon and never had to work. Illegals actually wanna work unlike most whites and blacks begging in the streets for money. You guys have socials, why not put them to work. Always worried about the "illegal" taking jobs, well if you guys weren't so picky then you would have one too. And pleaaaaaaaaaseeee, talking about crime rate. Have you guys not looked at the news? Nothing but crazy white folks shooting kids in schools and theaters. What's the excuse for that? He was depressed? And all you guys get is "He was misguided" or how about "He has a mental state" . I call that BS, but I bet you anything in the world that if illegals were to really get kicked out. The U.S would fail. Because it's filled with nothing but lazy people living on Wellfare, wanting 15 dollars an hour to flip burgers. Hahaha You guys are ridiculous. I am an American, Born in Texas. My family came with nothing, and have been here for over 20 years and have opened up businesses without being legal. And you guys are legal wanting 15 an hour, get over yourselves. Illegals pay taxes too, even if they work with a different name or whatever the case may be they get taxed too and you know they pay, without hesitation. Meanwhile the construction workers are risking their lives for lower income. Why ? Because they have no other job they can get with decent pay. Most "Americans", are Hypocrites. Go back to Europe and Africa and we'll step out for the Native Americans.

    May 23, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. rla

    I wish he were fighting for me instead of a bunch of law breakers... BUT I guess that 's what transfoming a nation means- screw the middle class and the nation for stupidity!

    May 23, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. Gunderson

    Um, Sorry Tampa Tim,
    If people couldn't afford Health Care before, what makes you think they can afford it now. So, who will pay the bill? Obama wants to screw the money out of the real tax payers, or the so called rich. The so called rich only have so much they can give. Not nearly enough. So, the government does what? That's right, raises the National Debt. We already are hearing about Health Premiums skyrocketing. What is causing that? People that can't pay now. Of begs the question. Are we any better off with Obama Care? No. Less people are working and paying into the system, hence the raising of the National Debt. Before more people working and paying into the system. And they could still get health care because of the law. Ok, Tim, I agree. You were behind the door when the brains were passed out. Some states that were going to set up their own Web Sites/Exchanges are now dumping them because they are too difficult. You can beat that horse till the cows come home, with the same result.

    May 23, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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