Obama has now ordered the Homeland Security and Justice departments to find executive authorities that could enlarge that non-prosecutorial umbrella by a factor of 10. Senior officials also tell me Obama wants to see what he can do with executive power to provide temporary legal status to undocumented adults. And he will shift Immigration Control and Enforcement resources from the interior to the border to reduce deportations of those already here and to beef up defenses along the border.
“Things were getting ragged with some of the immigration groups,” said Marshall Fitz, director of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. “Many of us had long drawn the conclusion the House Republicans were not going to budge. After Obama spoke, the vibe was, ‘Wow. This is a very clear, very serious pivot.’ ”
There ensued a brief debate about the underlying politics of executive action in the shadow of the midterm elections—whether it would motivate Latinos and progressives in larger numbers than tea-party-inspired GOP voters; would it cut for or against Senate Democrats in red states like Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska, North Carolina, and Georgia; and how it would play in 2016.
“He didn’t seem to give a shit,” Sharry said. “It was clear he was going on offense and going to run to the question.”