President Barack Obama is set to reject the key compromise at the heart of a bipartisan deal on immigration reform announced by eight Senators yesterday. The president, who will deliver an address later today in Las Vegas, NV outlining his own immigration ideas, is reported to oppose linking a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants, a Democrat demand, to stronger law enforcement and better border security, a Republican demand.
The president will apparently argue that the administration has met reasonable goals on enforcing current immigration legislation, and that additional security will merely create new obstacles to legalizing the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants thought to be living in the United States. The federal government accelerated deportations in the first years of the Obama presidency, and sent new personnel to patrol the southwestern border.
However, starting last year, the Obama administration declined to enforce existing law regarding the so-called “Dreamers”–immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children. The election-year move drew praise from Hispanic groups but preempted congressional legislation, and brought criticism from proponents of immigration reform, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who objected to the president’s clear circumvention of Congress.