“It’s amnesty”

President Obama is going out of his way to get an immigration reform deal by scaling back his ambitions. During an interview with Jake Tapper, Obama refused to say he would veto a bill without a pathway to citizenship.

While Obama made it clear he thinks it is important, he didn’t draw a line in the sand. From Obama:

If the speaker proposes something that says right away, folks aren’t being deported, families aren’t being separated, we’re able to attract top young students to provide the skills or start businesses here and then there’s a regular process of citizenship, I’m not sure how wide the divide ends up being.  That’s why I’d want to prejudge it.

What I’m encouraged by is the fact that that Speaker Boehner and others seem to recognize our country will be stronger if we are able to resolve this issue in a way where, you know, kids, for example, who have grown up here and for all practical purposes, are Americans but don’t have the right papers are not being punished.

Speaker John Boehner is talking about doing an immigration reform plan that would grant some form of legal status but not a pathway to citizenship. At this point, though, it still seems unlikely House Republicans could come together around even a scaled back proposal. Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) is already attacking the idea as “amnesty.”

Politically it makes sense for Obama to hang back and see if House Republicans can come up with something. That way the get all the blame if they fail.

Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license