Seven influential voices shaping the immigration debate
The Hill | August 30, 2014
Even the most ardent immigrant rights advocates are saying it: Reform legislation is dead this year — and for the foreseeable future.
With that in mind, all eyes have shifted to the White House, where President Obama is weighing unilateral changes to his immigration policies in the face of congressional inaction.
In March, the president asked the Department of Homeland Security to review its approach to deportations in search of blanket ways to conduct them “more humanely.”
With the results of that review – and Obama’s subsequent policy response – expected next month, both sides of the immigration debate are intensifying their arguments in hopes of swaying Obama’s ultimate decision and the public’s response to it.
The dynamics in the debate are different from earlier in the year, when legislation was seen as having a realistic chance of moving through Congress.
Back then, the most influential voices were the party leaders, committee heads and special interest lobbyists who would have had a direct hand in crafting a compromise package.
With the administration now steering the cart, those figures are largely on the sidelines, ceding power instead to the voices at the poles of the debate – both the liberals urging Obama to go big and the Tea Party conservatives lobbing accusations of that the president is pushing “amnesty” programs.
Against that backdrop, here are seven figures who will have out-sized voices as Obama weighs his decision.