Representative Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) thinks that President Obama should pursue his immigration goals unilaterally, even if it hurts vulnerable Democrats in the 2014 midterms.
“That’ll always be the case,” the Congressional Hispanic Caucus co-chair told National Review Online when asked if Democrats were still nervous that the border crisis had turned Obama’s expected orders into a political liability.
“You’ll always have members whose political vulnerability they tie entirely to immigration,” Grijalva said. “We didn’t make progress when we were in the majority because we were being protective of those — on immigration reform — we were protecting those members. At some point do you worry more about the future or do you continue to put off the inevitable by not taking action?”
Grijalva told C-Span’s Newsmakers that Democrats were increasingly pessimistic about Obama’s coming orders.
“You can sense already, even among my Democratic colleagues, a kind of — ‘this issue is a little too complicated, too risky, let’s go small,’” he said. “Politically, they’re tied together and the children at the border and his executive orders are going to get tied together.”
Grijalva’s colleague, Representative Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill.), said Friday that Senate Democrats in particular are getting nervous about immigration.
“I think there are sectors of our party, more in the Senate than anywhere else, that are concerned about their own political viability, either of the party or their own particular candidacies in the Democratic party, and I think that’s what’s fundamentally wrong,” Gutierrez said on MSNBC, per the Washington Times. “When public policy is defined through electoral goals and the goals of a party, then human rights and civil rights always suffer.”
Gutierrez went on to say that, through Obama’s executive orders, “I think we can get 3 or 4, maybe even 5 million people” included in a program analogous to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.