Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) encouraged President Obama to “go real big” with the administrative amnesty planned for after the midterm elections.
Asked how delaying the executive orders would affect Democratic Senate candidates, Reid simply called it an opportunity for Republicans to pass legislation such as the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill.
“If they don’t, I hope the president goes real big, and does something administratively, as I believe he has the authority to do,” Reid told reporters emphatically Tuesday.
“This is an example of why we should have done comprehensive immigration reform that we passed here more than a year ago,” Reid also said. “The president has stated that he was going to do something administratively unless there is legislative action taken. It appears to me, based on what we have been told and what I’ve seen, the Republicans still have a chance to do something.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) disputed that argument during a Tuesday press conference that took place shortly before Reid’s remarks.
“That claim doesn’t pass the laugh test,” Cruz told reporters. “The president has stated he intends to give amnesty to five to six million people here illegally. But as all of you have widely reported, a number of Democratic senators pleaded with the White House because the American people don’t want amnesty. And a number of Democratic senators felt that they would lose their elections if the president granted amnesty. So, what did he do? He said, ‘Well, I’m still going to do it, but I’ll just wait till after the election.’ The cynicism in that statement is breathtaking.”
Cruz said that Senate Democrats want to “have their cake and eat it too” by delaying the executive action until after the election but not voting on a bill that would prevent President Obama from expanding his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The DACA program, Cruz argues, created the perception in Central American countries that children who arrived in the United States would be allowed to stay.
“[White House officials] say, ‘Listen, DACA doesn’t cover these people so it has nothing to do with this crisis,” Cruz said. “If they actually meant that, then the administration should support this legislation, because all this legislation says is DACA does not cover anyone new. They don’t mean that. When they say that, it is another version of telling you that if you like your health-insurance plan, then you can keep your health-insurance plan. They are saying something deliberately that they know is false.”