Diaz-Balart said Obama’s promised unilateral action on immigration will backfire in 2016. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Republicans have an immigration problem, and Democrats may have an answer.
When President Barack Obama, as expected, moves ahead with an executive action on immigration, he could be handing Republicans the out they need on an issue that is expected to plague the GOP in national elections for years.
By acting on his own, politicians and pollsters told CQ Roll Call, Obama may take immediate pressure off Congress to address the nation’s immigration system while also giving Republicans a legitimate reason to bash the overhaul. Republicans — particularly those with 2016 aspirations — can slam the immigration action as an executive overreach.
Congressional Democrats are already playing defense against that line of attack. On Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi penned an op-ed with Illinois Democrat Luis V. Gutiérrez and California Democrat Zoe Lofgren, arguing that the president’s authority to defer removal of illegal immigrants has precedent.
Of course, there are plenty of questions remaining regarding the president’s executive order — who will be included, how the action will impact enforcement and the extent of the deferments. But Democrats and Republicans are already starting to ask the question that’s always most important in Washington: How does this affect the next election?
Republicans contend — perhaps a bit hopefully — that unilateral action will backfire on Obama and the Democrats.
Pro-immigration overhaul Republican Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida told CQ Roll Call that, “short-term,” the president might receive a bump from voters. “But, I think, long-term, it’s going to be devastating.”
There are videos, the Miami congressman said, of Obama arguing that he lacks the legal authority to act alone on immigration. And when the public is inundated with those videos, Diaz-Balart predicted, they’ll turn on a unilateral immigration action.
“I think it will personally destroy him,” Diaz-Balart said of Obama. Full story