As Obama tweaks policy on illegal immigrants, will Latino voters swoon?
Obama moves to make it easier for some illegal immigrants to obtain legal status, dismantling hurdles set by congressional Republicans. The step is likely to shore up his support among Latino voters, but it could also polarize the country.
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Obama's political strategy has its risks. It is feeding perceptions among conservatives that the president is flouting the Constitution by going around Congress to shape legislative policy. Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head a consumer watchdog agency and his recess appointments of three members of the National Labor Relations Board are examples of the White House stepping outside executive-branch boundaries, they say.Skip to next paragraph
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“The left – big surprise – views the Constitution as irrelevant when the president (so long as he’s acting for good and noble reasons) has important things to do,” writes Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin of the latest recess appointments. “It is especially distasteful that he is willing to provoke a constitutional furor ... as a political stunt, to boost his leftist base and pick a fight with a co-equal branch. It’s the politics of Chicago and Newt Gingrich, daring anyone to stop him.”
Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas, author of a 1996 law that created 3- and 10-year bars for deported illegal immigrants to return to the United States, called the administration's move “an abuse of administrative powers.”
The White House justifies its ramped-up use of executive powers, saying the problems of the country are too serious to be hamstrung by what it sees as obstructionist ploys by Republicans.
Many Hispanics applauded the administration's move for a new provisional waiver. Obama will need a big majority of the Hispanic vote to win the key battleground states of Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. One immigration rights activist, Angelica Salas, called the new waiver “a welcome rational solution to a simple problem that will keep thousands of families together, according to The New York Times.