Greg Sargent makes this catch on a major shift in strategy from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on immigration: they will demand that President Obama take executive action on deportations, or face the consequences.
In a new memo to the Obama administration, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has laid out a list of specific demands it wants the president to follow in order to unilaterally ease the pace of deportations — suggesting the pressure on Obama to act may soon become overwhelming.
The memo — which hasn’t yet been released and will be presented to Department of Homeland Security officials on April 9th — calls on Obama to do whatever possible to ease deportations of all those who would be impacted by the Senate-passed immigration bill, and as such, represents a significant escalation of pressure on Obama from Dem lawmakers.
The memo’s basic aims are not new. They were previously developed by the CHC, which then led the President to call a private meeting with Hispanic lawmakers and urge them to hold off on pressuring him publicly, while the Department of Homeland Security reviews options for making deportation policy "more humane.”
Apparently the time for that review period has ended, and the public pressure stage of the strategy is now in full swing.
The memo insists Obama has the power to expand the same prosecutorial discretion it used to suspend deportations under DACA to parents and siblings of DACA recipients. It argues that they, too, are “low priority” deportations, and points to thousands of children who are in foster care because parents have been deported. It also argues that the administration can expand “parole in place” to temporarily protect immediate relatives of U.S. citizens — such as spouses, children, and parents — from deportation, claiming family unity is a “significant public benefit.”
These steps do not constitute unilaterally legalizing anyone, but judging by the Obama administration’s public statements, officials may not believe he has the legal right to take them. Some experts have said he has more legal leeway than the administration has admitted, though the legal debate remains convoluted.
Here's my question: how good of a strategy is it for members of Congress, who know they can't pass legislation because of Republicans like Marco Rubio, to go after the President then and threaten him, but not the GOP?
That of course would mean an admission that the CHC has no leverage over the GOP, but does over the person they think they can hurt, Obama and the Democrats.
So when President Obama does go to bat for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, will they stand with him during the inevitable GOP counter-attack?
I'm not sure that will happen.