Moderate Dems resist Obama's push to relax deportations

“I don’t care if there’s a Democrat or a Republican president, and I know there is executive order and I know all that,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said. “But I’m one of those who, if you’re going to change the law, let Congress do it. I mean, it’s like the health care [law]. [Obama] keeps delaying certain things. He doesn’t have the authority to do that.”

Cuellar backs a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill supported by House Democrats that largely resembles legislation approved by the Democratic-led Senate nearly one year ago. He also has signed a discharge petition led by Democrats in an attempt to force a House vote on immigration reform.

But like some other moderate House Democrats who otherwise support immigration reform, Cuellar strikes a more cautious tone when it comes to unilateral action from Obama on deportations. When asked if fellow Democrats could face political trouble if the administration chooses that option, Cuellar replied: “Yeah, I guess you could say that.”

The concern is that vulnerable Democrats in conservative-leaning territory could be attacked in this year’s elections if Obama makes major policy moves without Congress — a criticism used by Republicans most frequently regarding administrative delays in the health care law.