Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hopes President Obama will review possible administrative actions to halt the deportations of illegal immigrants now that reform legislation has stalled in Congress.
“I would hope that administratively, the president will do what he can to take a look at deportations, but he is being burdened by the law as it exists, and we need to change it,” Reid told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The president has repeatedly said his power to stop deportations is limited.
“I’ve been able to prevent deportations of younger people with, the Dream Act kids, by administrative action,” he told Univision Radio last week. “But the problem is that’s just a temporary action that I’ve been taking. That’s not yet the law that’s been passed by Congress. And it doesn’t help their parents and others who are in the similar situations.”
Obama urged those frustrated by immigration policy to put pressure on House Republicans to move on legislation.
“The main thing people can do right now is put pressure on Republicans who have refused so far to act,” he said. “And I think sending a strong message to them that this is the right thing to do; it’s important to do; it’s the fair thing to do, and it will actually improve the economy and give people a chance.”
Republican leaders began 2014 by outlining a series of principles that indicated they were open to pursuing immigration reform, but that momentum stalled when Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama had not demonstrated to Republican lawmakers “that he can be trusted to enforce the law as it was written.”
He accused Obama of changing his signature healthcare law “on a whim, whenever he likes” and said that his recent focus on executive actions was alienating lawmakers.
Reid insisted in the interview published Tuesday that there was an urgent need for reform.
“We have to get comprehensive immigration reform now,” Reid said. “There’s so many tragic cases that need to be resolved. And that can happen if we have comprehensive immigration reform.”