Even as he lauded President Obama’s decision to halt deportations of young undocumented immigrants, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his Republican colleagues to task for their inaction on immigration reform.
The Nevada Democrat’s remarks come as one key Senate Republican says he is giving up on the issue.
Obama last week announced his administration would stop deporting young illegals brought to this country as children.
In a floor speech Monday, Reid praised the president’s move as “courageous,” and mentioned by name one of his young constituents, Astrid Silva, brought to the United States by her parents at the age of four.
“She doesn’t even remember Mexico, the country where she was born. She speaks perfect English. She was an honor student in high school,” Reid says. “And she’s never called anyplace but Nevada her home. So of course I thought of this brave young woman when President Obama announced Friday that he would suspend deportation of young people, like Astrid, who were brought to this country illegally when they were only children.”
However, as much as he thanked Obama for his executive action, Reid also called it “temporary.”
Congress, including Republicans, should pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for young people like Silva, brought to this country illegally by their parents, Reid says.
“The onus is now on Congress to protect the DREAMers and fix our broken immigration system once and for all,” he says. ” … Some Republicans have suggested a solution to the DREAMer’s terrible dilemma should have come from Congress, not the President. But it’s Republican opposition that has prevented Congress from acting. In fact, Senate Republicans blocked the DREAM Act twice.
“And many Republicans who once said they favor a long-term fix for America’s broken immigration system are now abandoning efforts to find common ground. The President has taken decisive action in offering this directive. But he can only do so much by himself. For Astrid’s sake – and for the sake of every American – it is time Congress became part of the solution.”
But even as Reid was urging cooperation, a top Senate Republican announced that he was walking away from efforts to approve a version of the DREAM Act.
Angry over Obama’s announcement, Sen. Marco Rubio says he is dropping his efforts on the issue.
“People are going to say to me, ‘Why are we going to need to do anything on this now. It has been dealt with. We can wait until after the election,’” says Rubio, himself brought to the United States as a child. “And it is going to be hard to argue against that.”
The anger expressed by Rubio and other Republicans may come, in part, because Obama likely will benefit politically from his immigration decision.