Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have become the latest Senators to encourage President Obama to address his record rate of deportations.
As Sen. Schumer told Politico in a statement today:
We remain focused on passing a balanced immigration bill that secures our borders and fixes a broken system. But if the House recesses in September without passing immigration reform, in October the administration should stop deporting hard-working and law-abiding people who would be covered by the Senate bill.
Sen. Durbin told reporters yesterday that he has been urging DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and others to slow the deportation rate.
If we’re dealing with strictly technical violations of immigration law, I don’t believe they should be deported. If there’s a criminal record, it’s totally different.
Their comments echo a statement from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) given Tuesday night, at an NCLR gala in which Janet Murguía denounced the President as the “deporter-in-chief”. As Menendez said:
While we continue waiting for the House of Representatives to wake up and move on immigration reform legislation, I urge the president to take action today and halt needless deportations that are splitting apart our families and communities. The current deportation apparatus is an outrage, and it’s a tragedy.
The Hill also lists Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) as a supporter of the administrative strategy:
When told that Menendez’s proposal to halt deportations would be limited to illegal immigrants who are the immediate family of citizens and permanent residents, Harkin said, “I agree with him, then.”
The Senators join a number of House Democrats — most notably Luis Gutierrez (IL) — who have for months been calling on Obama to halt the deportations of those who would qualify for legislative immigration reform.
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, by the way, called this development yesterday when he said that the already-intense pressure on Obama will only continue to grow in the absence of Congressional action for the 11 million:
If the discharge petition Dems will employ to force a House vote on immigration reform fails, the pressure will rapidly intensify on the President to act, since it would confirm once again Republicans have no intention of acting this year. You could see more senior Dems in Congress stepping forward as Menendez has now done.