The immigration relief the president granted to students will be a political issue. The idea of offering relief from deportation and a work permit, but no path to citizenship, began with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago) says he’ll work with Rubio on a permanent solution, though Rubio has now criticized the president’s action. Gutierrez says it’s unlikely that Congress will take up anything as complex and polarizing as immigration reform before this year’s election.
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President Obama last week announced an executive order that illegal immigrants who had been brought to the United States by their parents as children could stay here, and be given a work permit, if they were attending or had completed school or military service.
U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-McHenry) criticized the president on the matter, saying it was a power grab, and that the action itself will flood a depressed labor market with workers.
Meanwhile, John Hoyt of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights hopes Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will agree not to rescind the executive order should he be elected. Romney has taken a hard line against immigration, but he has not taken a position on the president’s executive order, and Hoyt believes he is persuadable on the issue.