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Old 04-19-2014
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Default Donít count out immigration reform just yet

By Puneet Kollipara April 18 at 8:32 am

1. Top story: Don't count out immigration reform just yet

House immigration bills are still in the mix, GOP tells donors and industry. "Many lawmakers and activists have assumed the issue was off the table in an election year. But Mr. Boehner said at a Las Vegas fundraiser last month he was 'hellbent on getting this done this year,' according to two people in the room....Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered an upbeat message about legislative prospects during a recent trip to Silicon Valley....Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.) also is drafting legislation....One issue that could impact the timetable in Congress is a review of deportation policy now under way by the Department of Homeland Security, at Mr. Obama's direction." Laura Meckler in The Wall Street Journal.

And Diaz-Balart says he fears what happens if Obama goes it alone. "A leading Latino Republican is warning that if the GOP-controlled House does not move on immigration reform by the August recess, Obama will employ executive action to ease deportations on his own -- making any legislative reform politically impossible until at least 2017. That would mean that if Republicans donít act on reform by August, they may lose their chance to place their stamp on reform -- and begin to repair their Latino problem -- before the next presidential election. 'Iím convinced that if we donít get it done by the August break, the president, who is feeling a lot of pressure from having not done anything on immigration reform, will feel that he has to act through executive action,' GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, a leading Republican player on immigration, told me." Greg Sargent in The Washington Post.

A White House move could slow the pace deportations. "Obama administration officials are considering allowing bond hearings for immigrants in prolonged detention, officials said, a shift that could slow the pace of deportations because immigration courts expedite cases of incarcerated immigrants....The proposal is one of several being floated as the White House scrambles to ease the concerns of Latino groups and other traditional allies....Some called him 'deporter in chief' and excoriated his administration for expelling immigrants who could qualify for legal papers under the immigration overhaul bill that passed the Senate last year but then stalled in the Republican-led House. " Brian Bennett and Christi Parsons in Los Angeles Times.

Who's the real 'deporter in chief'? Depends on how you define 'deport.' "The left is increasingly angry with President Obama, calling him the 'deporter-in-chief.' Thatís because the total number of deportations during Obamaís tenure recently passed 2 million. As Dara Lind wrote last week at Vox, that pace puts him on track to 'have deported more people by the end of 2014 than George W. Bush did in his entire eight years'...The right is mad at Obama, too -- but for the opposite reason. They say heís deporting far fewer people than Bush, and has failed to adequately enforce the countryís immigration laws....How is it possible that the two sides could look at the same data and see such different things? The key is how you define the term 'deport' -- and what you think about a broad change in policy that started during the Bush administration and has continued under Obama." Nora Caplan-Bricker in The New Republic.

Obama disputes Cantor's version of phone call in which immigration came up. "Cantor said after the two men spoke by phone Wednesday that Obama still hasnít learned how to work effectively with lawmakers. Obama told reporters during a press conference Thursday that they actually had a 'very pleasant conversation' and that he called the Virginia Republican to wish him a happy Passover. Obama says there was a mismatch between Cantorís stance in private and public." Associated Press.

Meanwhile, immigration hunger strikes roll on. "One week after launching their protest on the doorsteps of the White House, the three people who had been starving themselves for the presidentís attention made a decision. The youngest of the strikers, 18-year-old college student Cynthia Diaz, had been subsisting on water alone for five days to bring attention to her detained immigrant mother when she appeared on Saturdayís edition of Melissa Harris-Perry. The host emphasized to Diaz, at the end of the interview, her hope that the young activist 'continue to care for' herself as she worked to liberate her mother, Maria del Rosario Rodriguez, from an immigration detention center. That had an effect on Diaz." Jamil Smith in MSNBC.

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