The White House has indicated that President Obama will take some kind of executive action on immigration at the end of summer, but the administration has been tight-lipped about the specifics of such a move.
Reports have indicated that the executive action could provide legalization for some five million undocumented immigrants already in the United States – something Lisa Navarrete, adviser to the president of La Raza, explained to Breitbart News in a Tuesday interview would be welcome but really the “floor” number of what her group is looking to accomplish.
“We have been very clear with the President that if he is going to do this, he should be bold, and the population of people who would be covered under the Senate bill that’s just been waiting one House vote to pass would be a good starting point,” she said, referring to the Senate immigration bill that would have provided undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship.
According to Navarrete, while La Raza has offered the Obama administration their wish list, the White House has not shared any details of what actions the President may take with the group.
“All they have heard is what we would like to see, and I think that is pretty much the case with everybody who has been pushing for executive action on this,” she said. “We’re in the same boat as everybody else.”
Navarrete explained that to La Raza and others immigration reform is inevitable, and given its inevitability, wasting time and resources waiting is not wise.
“We believe it just doesn’t make a lot of sense for our government – if we’re on the cusp of passing comprehensive immigration reform – that we should be spending resources on people who might otherwise be eligible for relief in a larger bill,” she said. “We believe that comprehensive reform is going to happen, whether it’s next year or the year after we don’t know, but it is going to happen, and there are a number of people here who would be eligible under the parameters of the Senate bill.”
She described how the White House has listened to La Raza but kept their cards close to the vest, not betraying any details of what Obama might do.
“I would compare it to a kid asking his parents for Christmas [presents], and they are like, ‘Okay, here is your letter to Santa, and we’ll take that under advisement,’” she said.
“All we know is the President wants to act; he wants to act soon. What it’s going to look like and who is going to be affected by it, we have no idea,” Navarrete continued.
Of the political concerns with Obama taking bold unilateral action in an election year, Navarrete said La Raza is focused on the bottom-line policy issue.
“We just feel that the situation – we’ve been saying it for some time – is at a crisis point. And that’s not our calculation,” she said.
Navarrete noted, however, that recent exit polls among non-Latinos have not shown as much interest in the immigration issue.
“For the Latino community, it makes a huge difference. So that’s why… for us, it’s much more a topic for 2016 and the Republican intransigence,” she said, arguing that from La Raza’s perspective they “are completely botching the issue, and that’s going to have enormous political costs. Whether it’s the midterms – probably not, if I’m going to be frank, for the Republicans – but 2016 [is] going to be ugly, and it’s going to be very problematic [for a Republican presidential nominee].”