Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is encouraging President Obama to “go big, as big as he can” on an immigration executive order.
“Immigration should not prevent Senator McConnell and Boehner from working with me to fund the government, on this issue. This is — this is really hard to comprehend,” Reid told reporters at a closed policy luncheon.
“Every president since President Eisenhower have done executive orders as it relates to immigration. Every president, 39 different times,” he said. “Now, Reagan, Bush and Bush, they’ve done it, and we didn’t hear a single word come from the Republicans that they didn’t like that. So why now is this suddenly an issue with the Republicans?”
Reid said one of the priorities is to “understand the fairness of it all.”
“This will be a relief to many, many families whose families are being torn apart by this broken system,” he said.
“And remember, for my Republican friends whose conscience — as always, they’re always concerned about money — if Republicans in the House would allow a vote on the bill we passed here those many months ago, it would pass overwhelmingly and …produce $1 trillion in relief for the American people, $1 trillion.”
Executive action, Reid said in an echo of Obama, is “not the substitute for congressional action.”
“I understand that. But he’s doing what he can within his authority, and it’ll be up to Congress to finish this job,” he said. “…The first thing we have to do is fix our borders. If the bill that passed the Senate passed the House, we would have a border that would be so secure. Billions of dollars is in that legislation.”
“So I believe that when the president decides to do his executive order, he should go big, as big as he can, and there’s precedent for him going back to the Eisenhower administration to do something just like this,” Reid continued. “So the fact that he wants to do something on immigration, is being forced to do something on immigration should not stop us from doing our job, and this funding government.”
Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) noted after a GOP caucus meeting today that Obama had previously said he didn’t have the authority to order the immigration reform, “the very same one now that he apparently is determined to issue.”
“Right now, the people that benefit the most from our broken immigration system are the cartels, the transnational criminal organizations, for whom this is a wonderful business model. They traffick in children. They traffick in drugs. They traffick in weapons and the like. And the president’s executive order does zero, zip, nada, to shut that down,” Cornyn said.
“So, there is an opportunity for the president to reconsider, as he has done once before, and I hope he will reconsider and decide to work with us in a bipartisan, bicameral way to fix our broken immigration system. If he proceeds forward with his executive order, it will squander the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time to make progress.”