Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday warned that Republicans would have to watch helplessly while President Obama curbs deportations, unless the GOP helps move a comprehensive immigration package in the House.
“They can either help pass comprehensive reform, which will greatly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, grow our economy by bringing in needed workers in high-tech and agriculture areas, and provide a hard-earned path to eventual citizenship for the 11 million in the shadows,” he said in a Facebook post, “or they can sit idly by and watch the President greatly curtail deportations while 11 million continue to live in limbo here in America.”
The comments came a day after President Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security to find a way to enforce deportation laws more humanely.
Schumer said the choice is clear.
“A reform bill has the support of liberals, moderates, and conservatives and all we need is the courage of the Republican leadership to make the right and obvious choice,” he said.
Obama made his direction after a meeting with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Immigration advocates and some Democrats, in particular Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), have been pressing the administration to use its power to slow the rate of deportations, which have reached nearly 2 million during his administration.
“The president emphasized his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system,” the White House said in a readout after the meeting Thursday.
In 2012, Obama de-prioritized the deportation of many children who were brought to the country illegally. He had thus far been hesitant to do the same for the general population.