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CIR Activists Want Action Now, Not Plan B Later. By Roger Algase

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In my August 9 post, I described how some immigration reformers, frustrated by the obstruction and negativity of House Republicans blocking any steps toward legalization or citizenship for up to 11 million unauthorized immigrants, are hoping that President Obama will use his executive power to accomplish these goals if reform fails to pass.

However, some immigration advocates are not willing to wait for a Plan B in the future - they want to see presidential action now, in order to put pressure on the House to change its mind before CIR's tombstone is actually put in place and the funeral ceremony begins.

Immigration commentator Laura Matthews talks about this in her August 9 International Business Times article: Immigration Reform 2013: Deporter In Chief Obama Shouldn't Seek Political Advantage From Gridlock, Advocate Says

The article is available at the site:

www.ibtimes.com


Then click under "Most Read" at the right side of the home page.


Matthews writes:

"If efforts to pass an immigration reform bill fail in 2013, polls show that a majority of the public would blame congressional Republicans...But in the short term, immigration advocates say they would blame one man: President Barack Obama.

After failing to keep his first term promise of immigration reform, advocates aren't going to let Obama get off by faulting Republican obstructionism... They say he can and should do more to improve the chances of reform legislation leaving Congress."


She quotes Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, as follows:

"The president needs to make clear that people's political equality and eventual citizenship will no longer be held hostage by a dysfunctional Congress. Bold executive action can keep the debate focused on its core mission."...People will be looking to Obama for relief."

What kind of relief do immigration advocates have in mind?

Her article answers:

"NOLON and other advocates are urging Obama to suspend deportations rather than possibly waiting to use that option as 'plan B'."

She also mentions that while Obama was initially under pressure from the Senate Gang of Eight to stay out of the debate, immigration advocates such as NOLON no longer believe that this strategy will be effective. They are calling for bold presidential action now.

Of course, there are huge political risks in such a strategy. If Obama suspends deportations now, it could give the Republicans an argument that they are right to block reform because the president will not enforce the law anyway.

Then they could kill reform and blame President Obama for its demise at the same time, which is what most Congressional Republicans appear to have as their real goal.

The president's strategy, therefore, might be to proceed as cautiously as possible in order to make sure that in 2014, Latino and other minority voters will have no doubt about which party to blame for CIR's failure.

But what if these minority voters are kept away from the polls next year, as Republicans are planning to do in states such as Texas, North Carolina, and possibly many others in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act?

It may be time for the president to play hardball too on immigration, rather than leaving the field to House Republicans who are showing every sign of being determined to kill legalization and eventual citizenship for up to 11 million mainly non-white immigrants and impose an enforcement-only regime instead.



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Updated 08-12-2013 at 01:57 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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