The White House might be on the defensive when it comes to issues such as the National Security Agency spying on allies and Obamacare, but President Obama is nonetheless on the offensive in terms of immigration reform, viewing it as an opportunity to boost Democrats and further split the squabbling Republican Party before the 2014 midterms.
Obama has been urging lawmakers to deliver a bill for comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this year. Such a bill was passed back in June by the Senate but remains in limbo in the House of Representatives. Republicans are skeptical of Obama’s calls for negotiations, deeming the President to be untrustworthy, but their views are unlikely to alter Obama’s position, as he has little to lose by continuing to push for reform regardless of their attitude.
Democrats are well aware that the Republican Party is divided on the issue of immigration reform, with business groups headed by the US Chamber of Commerce battling against conservatives in the House of Representatives who refuse to accept “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, particularly not without considerably tougher border enforcement.
Business groups have threatened to withdraw their financial support to lawmakers in the Republican Party that they believe are attempting to block progress toward comprehensive immigration reform, a move that together with animosity from minority groups could well give Democrats the advantage in a number of key House races in 2014. Advocates of immigration reform are warning both parties that Hispanic voters are watching their behavior very closely.