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Schumer: Move key immigration implementation dates to '17, after Obama leaves office

  • McClatchy Washington Bureau
  • Published Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, at 11:25 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, at 1:20 p.m.

So Republican House leaders say President Barack Obama can't be trusted to enforce new immigration laws? No problem, said Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer--just delay implementation till he eaves office.

Look, Schumer, D-N.Y.,  told NBC's "Meet the Press," "I think the rap against him that he won't enforce the the law is false. He's deported more people than any other president."

But, he said, "you could actually have the law start in 2017 without doing much violence to it. You'd simply move the date back from December 31st,  to December 31st, 2013, as to when people -- the deadline for people who could get either legalization or citizenship, so only -- so we could go after the new people who come in later. And it would solve the problem."

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, responded, "I think some Republicans would be interested in that if we put in place the enforcement measures so that it would work.

"In other words, make sure the border is secure, make sure we have a workforce enforcement program that works. The concern we have, as you know, is to get back to the 1986 law, last time we did this, where we did provide legalization but didn't do the enforcement, 3 million people were legalized, another 6 million people came illegally."

House Republicans had issued a statement of principles to govern immigration legislation at their retreat 10 days ago. But last week, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican leaders suggested they were reluctant to move forward because they didn't trust Obama.

"There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner said at a Thursday news conference. “And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”


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