Court again blocks Obama’s plan to protect undocumented migrants – Reuters in Washington Monday 9 November 2015 22.55 EST

Injunction is upheld against president’s measures that could prevent millions, including people who arrived illegally as children, being thrown out of the US

Demonstrators outside the White House in 2014 calling for an end to the deportation of undocumented children.

Barack Obama’s executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation has suffered a legal setback with an appeal to the supreme court now the administration’s only option.

A 2-1 decision by the fifth US circuit court of appeals in New Orleans has upheld a previous injunction – dealing a blow to Obama’s plan, which is opposed by Republicans and challenged by 26 states.

The states, all led by Republican governors, said the federal government exceeded its authority in demanding whole categories of immigrants be protected.

The Obama administration has said it is within its rights to ask the Department of Homeland Security to use discretion before deporting non-violent migrants with US family ties.

The case has become the focal point of the Democratic president’s efforts to change US immigration policy.

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Immigration debacle dogs Marco Rubio – By Seung Min Kim and Manu Raju 4/14/15 5:42 AM EDT Updated 4/14/15 5:42 AM EDT

But even tea-party critics say he’s contained the damage and it may not be a deal-breaker with GOP voters.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18:  (L-R) U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speak to members of the media during a news conference on immigration reform April 18, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The senators discussed the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act".  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 18: (L-R) U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speak to members of the media during a news conference on immigration reform April 18, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The senators discussed the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The calls started coming from Republican Party honchos and prominent GOP senators right after Election 2012: The party had to start competing better for the Latino vote, and immigration reform was the place to start.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s political advisers weren’t so sure.

As a pair of deal-making Republicans deeply disliked by elements of the GOP base — Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham — were working with senators from both parties to draft an immigration bill, top Rubio hands flatly warned the Florida freshman not to go there. The advisers feared nothing would be worse for his chances in a potential presidential campaign than being associated with “amnesty” for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

Rubio didn’t take the advice. And two years later, immigration remains the freshman senator’s No. 1 liability in his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination — though not necessarily the deal breaker it appeared to be after the reform effort Rubio helped shepherd to passage in the Senate hit a brick wall in the House.

“Everybody likes Marco Rubio,” said Iowa conservative radio host Steve Deace, a nationally syndicated commentator. But “I still don’t hear his name from conservatives at all, and I think the Gang of Eight” — the bipartisan group of senators that pushed the most sweeping immigration overhaul in a generation — “has a lot to do with that.”

Even so, the political damage to Rubio has clearly subsided over time, in no small part due to Rubio’s repeated disavowal of the entire reform exercise. In the days ahead of his presidential campaign launch in Miami Monday evening, some critics on the tea-party right concede he has resuscitated himself politically, though the true effect may not be apparent until much deeper into the 2016 primary season.

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Step Aside, Steve King: Meet the Right’s Most Powerful Immigration Foe – —By Pema Levy | Thu Jan. 29, 2015 6:15 AM EST

Sen. Jeff Sessions, incoming chair of the Senate immigration subcommittee, is ready to go to war with Obama.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

It wasn’t long ago that Sen. Jeff Sessions was waging a lonely battle against comprehensive immigration reform. ABC News called the Alabama Republican a “lone wolf” in his dogged quest to kill the Senate’s immigration reform bill, which passed the upper chamber in June 2013 on a 68-32 bipartisan vote. At one point, Sessions introduced an amendment to slash the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country legally—not even Texas firebrand Ted Cruz voted for it.

But Sessions’ days of fighting immigration reform from the sidelines are over. Last week, he became chair of the Senate judiciary subcommittee on immigration. The new face of Republican immigration policy has yet to make headlines like his anti-reform ally in the House, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), whose inflammatory rhetoric about undocumented immigrants (“deportables“) has made him a household name within the Latino community. But Sessions is just as hardline as King. And now his party has place him in a high profile position in the nation’s ongoing and contentious immigration debate.

“By choosing Sessions, Senate Republicans are handing over the agenda and a megaphone to their leading anti-immigrant voice,” America’s Voice, a pro-immigration-reform group, said in a seven-page memo circulated to reporters that enumerated Sessions’ anti-immigration track record.

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The immigration strike team

After a midterm election in which declining Hispanic turnout cost Democrats dearly in close races, causing some leaders to question whether President Barack Obama made a mistake in delaying his immigration order, the party is devising far-reaching plans to reverse the slide in 2016.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan is pictured. | AP Photo

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan now heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. | AP Photo

The efforts, according to party operatives, include a multimillion-dollar fundraising drive to boost Democrats in congressional districts with large Hispanic populations. With the incoming Republican-controlled Congress unlikely to support a comprehensive immigration package, Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill are forming a new “Immigration Strike Team” to go on a messaging offensive on the issue.

And last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made a surprise choice to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a little-known third-term lawmaker who promises to make Hispanic voter engagement a top priority of the campaign arm.

The moves follow an election that saw Hispanics — the nation’s fastest growing voting bloc, and a group that helped power Obama’s reelection — stay home. According to exit polling, Hispanics made up just 8 percent of the 2014 electorate, down from 10 percent in 2012. And of those who did vote, fewer of them supported the president’s party. Hispanics broke for Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 28 percent, down from 44 percent in 2012.

(Also on POLITICO: Klayman’s immigration arguments get skeptical hearing)

“You had the perfect storm: a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of movement on immigration reform and a lack of capital investment to turn people out,” said Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist who specializes in Hispanic voter targeting. “I think everyone is reevaluating what went wrong to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Much of the internal Democratic finger-pointing surrounded the question of whether Obama should have signed his executive action on immigration before the midterms rather than after with an eye toward activating Hispanics for the midterms. While House Democrats ensconced in safe blue districts supported a pre-election move, their Senate colleagues, many of whom were locked in tough contests in red states, pressed him not to. Obama’s popularity among Hispanics has been on the rise since the executive action: A Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Telemundo survey released last week showed 57 percent of Hispanics approving of the president, up from 47 percent in September, just prior to the midterms.

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The first Latino president? – By EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE 12/18/14 8:37 PM EST

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 9:  A member of the crowd holds up a

Bill Clinton was the first black president. Thursday afternoon, taking in the Cuba thaw after weeks buoyed by President Barack Obama’s immigration reform executive actions, Labor Secretary Tom Perez put down a new marker for his own boss.

“When I reflect on the breadth and depth of what he has done for Latinos, it really makes him in my mind, and in the minds of so many others, the first Latino president,” said Perez, the son of Dominican immigrants and one of the administration’s highest-ranking Latinos.

Perez isn’t alone in that assessment. But many Latinos aren’t ready to go that far. But they’re starting to move. Obama’s approval rating shot up among Latinos since the executive action announcement, and the change in Cuba policy is a reminder of just how much politics have shifted: most older Cubans rage against lifting the embargo, while most younger Cubans track with the American public in supporting what Obama did—not to mention that Cubans now make up only 3.5 percent of the country’s Hispanic population. But polls show non-Cuban Hispanics support normalizing relations with Cuba by far greater margins.

(Also on POLITICO: Obama libre)

Obama’s already increased his Latino support from 67 percent in 2008 to 71 percent in 2012. If things keep up this way, pollsters see the chance that one of his electoral legacies could be helping deliver upwards of 80 percent of a quickly growing population to the next Democratic nominee.

Gary Segura, the principal and co-founder of the polling firm Latino Decisions, said Republicans risk hastening that along if they spend the next two years railing against the immigration executive actions—which, he said, will only help Obama’s standing among Latinos by giving him a chance to repeatedly remind them that he stood with them.

“He’ll spend most of the last two years of his presidency defending Latinos and his executive action. He’ll look good, his party will look good, the opposition party will look bad,” Segura said.

Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.) is a leader of immigration reform efforts among House Republicans. But as a Cuban himself, and one who represents many other Cubans in South Florida, he said Obama’s outreach to Castro demonstrates “a limitless willingness to appease enemies of freedom,” and a “grotesque concession.”

(Also on POLITICO: Obama’s December surprise)

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The Year in Immigration: The fight for reform continues | by Haya El Nasser Al Jazeera America – December 18, 2014 5:00AM ET

Proponents of immigration reform are finding themselves fighting to protect something that many were not overjoyed with to in the first place. Executive action is good for their cause and has received overwhelming support from Latinos, but it can be challenged. And the plan benefits fewer than half the undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Most want Congress to pass a comprehensive reform package that would change the law of the land and give all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. a way to legalize their status and even become citizens.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at Dec 18, 2014 3.15

Obama’s plan will help many, but it still leaves out about 300,000 parents of immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and qualified for a reprieve from deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the directive issued by Obama in 2012. For them, life in the shadows continues.

In the year ahead, expect the rallieshunger strikes, marches and demonstrations that marked 2014 to continue. The National Fast for Families is in its second month, and more than 10,000 advocates and activists have joined nationwide.

Various civic engagement groups have begun reaching out to voters in key congressional districts, targeting specific House Republicans standing in the way of comprehensive reform. Hundreds are camping out in front of representatives’ offices.

Immigrant groups are focused on 2016 (every two years, all 435 House seats and one-third of Senate seats are contested) and are intent on galvanizing Latino voters, many of whom stayed away from the polls during the midterm elections. Many were disillusioned by Obama’s decision to delay executive action until after the midterms — viewed as giving in to pressure from Democrats worried about negative reactions from voters. Some Latinos even called for a boycott at the polls to punish both Democrats and Republicans and make it clear that their votes can’t be taken for granted.

Democrats press Obama to wait on immigration action – By Alexander Bolton – 11/18/14 06:05 AM EST

President Obama has a tough decision to make on the timing of an executive order to freeze deportations of illegal immigrants.

Getty Images

Senate Democrats want him to wait to give them time to pass an omnibus spending bill and other legislative priorities in the lame-duck session that is just now ramping up.

But delaying the action, even for a few weeks, could make Obama look weak and inflame immigration advocates who are already furious with him for holding back until after the midterm elections.

“You have growing anxiety amongst the immigrant community that’s losing faith that the president is going to do as he said he would do,” said Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “I really think he’ll lose support from the Latino community if he continues to wait.”

Complicating the situation further, Obama is being asked to do a favor for Democratic lawmakers at a time when they are casting blame on him for the party’s disastrous showing at the ballot box.

One of the sharpest blows came from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) chief of staff, who excoriated Obama in a story published almost immediately after Democrats lost the Senate.

Obama postponed executive action on immigration reform until after the midterm elections at the behest of Democrats, and immigration advocates say there’s no reason to go that route again.

“Waiting doesn’t make sense,” said Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, deputy vice president of research, advocacy and legislation at the National Council of La Raza. “This is about millions of American families who’ve been waiting for a very long time for something to be done,” she said.

But Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which has jurisdiction of the immigration enforcement agencies that would be affected, said Obama should wait until next year.

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Clinton: No Obama immigration action may have hurt in midterms By MAGGIE HABERMAN   11/15/14 7:09 PM EST   Updated 11/15/14 10:45 PM EST


Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at Nov 16, 2014 3.32

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Former President Bill Clinton said he was surprised by the Democrats’ lopsided losses in Senate races in this year’s midterm elections, and he suggested that President Barack Obama’s decision not to sign an executive order on immigration may have played a role in keeping some Hispanic voters at home.

He also said Obama should maximize his pulpit and not give in to being a “lame duck,” setting a high bar by saying he should turn to the budget process to try to push through his agenda in his final two years in the White House and that the president should also try to pass immigration reform. Above all, he said, Obama should try to have “fun” in the job.

Clinton made the remarks in an interview with POLITICO’s Mike Allen at an event held during the 10-year anniversary weekend of the opening of his presidential library in Little Rock. He answered questions shortly after delivering a speech in which he strongly defended his economic record, a theme he hit a day earlier in a separate speech.

Asked if he thought the midterms would be closer, given that a number of polls showed tight races, Clinton replied, “I did, yeah, I did. If you look at the exit polls you can see what happened.”

(Also on POLITICO: Genghis Khan and empathy: Some quotes by and about Bill Clinton)

He suggested that the turnout modeling in a number of states was off, particularly in states such as Georgia, Arkansas and West Virginia, citing the exit polls there compared to the polling in the lead-up to the elections.

“There was a collapse of the youth vote,” Clinton said. “The African-American vote held fairly steady and was remarkable … we had a little bit of a loss of the Hispanic vote perhaps because the president” didn’t sign an order on executive action on immigration reform.

“It was a tough call for him because had he done so a lot of others would have lost by even more,” Clinton added. “What that shows you is the people who were against us felt more strongly than the people who were for us. The people who were for us just in all the din couldn’t hear what was actually a fairly coherent economic message coming out.”

A group of immigration activists targeted Hillary Clinton at a number of her midterm campaign appearances, urging her to address the question of whether she supports Obama using executive action to ease deportations of undocumented immigrants. The former first lady, who is likely to run for president in 2016, has not expressed an opinion about it, dodging questions from activists in Iowa and at other stops.
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Boehner warns of ‘big trouble’ if Obama forces through immigration reform – Paul Lewis and Dan Roberts Washington Thursday 6 November 2014 16.45 EST

John Boehner wasted no time in flexing Republican Congressional strength following the midterm elections. Photograph: Cliff Owen/AP

The Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, has warned Barack Obama he is “inviting big trouble” by using his presidential authority to reform the immigration system, setting the scene for the first major collision between the parties after the midterm elections.

Striking an uncompromising tone at his first press conference since a wave of Republican congressional victories on Tuesday, Boehner said there would be “no chance” of legislation to mend the country’s immigration system if the president acted alone.

“When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself,” he said. “He’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.”

The White House responded to Boehner’s comments by insisting that the president was undeterred, and would pursue “common sense and substantive” executive action on immigration. On Wednesday, the president pledged to take that action before the end of the year.

Boehner failed repeatedly over the last year to persuade Republicans in the House to even countenance a package of immigration reforms that the party’s leadership believe is necessary. He was not drawn on whether he could guarantee a vote on immigration reform but said he would talk to his members in coming weeks and signalled his determination to revisit the issue.

“It is time for the Congress of the United States to deal with a very difficult issue in our society,” he said. “This immigration issue has become a political football over the last 10 years or more. It’s just time to deal with it.”

Boehner and Mitch McConnell – the Kentucky senator who will take over as majority leader in January after the GOP gained eight seats in the chamber – will meet the president for lunch on Friday. It will be their first encounter since Republican electoral gains reshaped the balance of power in Washington.

As well as regaining control of the Senate, Republicans have gained at least 13 seats in the House, where they already enjoyed a large majority. Boehner, who is expected to overcome any challenge to his leadership, will begin the 144th US Congress with the largest majority of any Republican speaker since at least the 1940s.

He promised to use that position of strength to push for a simplified tax code, reduce the national debt and repeal the president’s signature health reforms in the Affordable Care Act.

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John McCain: ‘Pleading’ with President Obama – By JONATHAN TOPAZ | 11/6/14 1:04 PM EST

Sen. John McCain on Thursday said he is “pleading” with President Barack Obama not to issue an executive order on immigration and instead allow Congress to sort out potential legislation.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at Nov 6, 2014 3.42

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” the Arizona Republican implored the White House to give the newly elected Congress an opportunity to debate immigration reform and try to settle on a bill.

“I literally am pleading with the president of the United States not to act,” McCain said. “Give it a chance. We’ve got a new Congress. We’ve got a new mandate. Let’s let the House of Representatives decide if they want to move forward on immigration reform or not.”

(POLITICO’s 2014 race ratings)

McCain was one of four Republican members of the so-called Gang of Eight, the bipartisan group of senators that crafted the immigration bill that ultimately passed the Senate last year. The bill has since been stalled in the House for more than a year.

In a Wednesday news conference at the White House following the midterm elections — during which Republicans took control of the Senate and made major gains in the House — Obama vowed that he would take executive action on immigration “before the end of the year.” He previously delayed an executive order until after the elections, a move to protect red state Democrats that irked immigration advocates.

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