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No, Sen. Chris Coons: Executive Action on Immigration Shouldn't Wait on Republicans

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UPDATED 11/11/14: Here’s an update from Chris Coons:

Commentators and pollsters this week are lamenting that President Obama didn’t take executive action on immigration earlier this year, when it could have helped Democrats in the midterms — and calling on Obama to keep his promises and take action now. The President is sounding like he is finally ready to deliver on his promise. And, that has Republicans in a frenzy.

Some Democrats, however, have apparently not heeded last week’s midterms lesson, and appear willing to wait around on Republicans some more.  As Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), said on CNN, Obama should delay executive action “if there’s a clear commitment from the Republican leadership to take up debate and adopt an immigration reform bill.”

Last week, a New York Times editorial called that kind of thinking “delusional“. We agree. Senator Coons should know better.

Some Republicans — realizing that they desperately need to stop alienating Latino voters — have for years been saying nice things about passing immigration reform.  The problem is they don’t act on real reform.  When pressed to take votes on immigration, they do things like try to deport DREAMers instead.  With Republicans coming into control of the Senate as well as the House, suddenly there is a lot of talk from the GOP about “getting things done.”  But it’s ridiculous to think that Republicans, who would’ve been able to pass immigration reform this year if they’d only allowed the House to take a vote, would let the Senate bill expire only to go through the whole rigamarole again next year.  It’s almost certain that they won’t — not in a way that comprehensively addresses immigration reform or the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here.

Again, Coons should know better. We’d suggest he read this Dana Milbank column, which stated “Obama would have been better off if he had done what he thought was right and let the politics take care of themselves.”  Or, he could read today’s New York Times piece by Gary Segura of Latino Decisions, who chastised Obama and the Democrats for not taking executive action on immigration, thereby giving Latino voters no reason to turn out for this year’s midterms.

President Obama has repeatedly promised that he will take action on immigration, and he should do so immediately.  At this point, Democrats need to encourage the President to act big — and be prepared to support his action. The Republicans have had their chance to pass real reform legislation. They didn’t. We don’t need Democrats, like Chris Coons, pretending that they will. Hoping against all evidence that the Republicans might come around is a ridiculous reason to wait.