The following is an August 10 updated version of my post which originally appeared on Friday, August 9.

Immigration supporters who were originally willing to give House Republicans the benefit of the doubt are now running out of patience with the GOP's obstruction tactics. If the House Republicans finally kill CIR, as they seem determined to do sooner or later, reformers are beginning to ask what the next step would be.

An August 8 National Journal story: Immigration Plan B focuses on White House may provide an answer. The link is:

www.nationaljournal.com/whitehouse/immigration-plan-b-focuses-on-white-house-20130808

The article starts off:

"Immigration reform activists aren't supposed to talk publicly about a plan B...But as August wears out and there is no clear sense of what the House will do on immigration, some are starting to speak out...

'We have the other track', said Adelina Nicholls, the executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. 'The other track is Barack Obama.' "

The NJ continues:

"The same legal reasoning for not seeking deportation for unauthorized immigrants - there is no safety-related reason for doing so - applies to other non-criminal aliens, immigration analysts argue. Politically, all President Obama needs is proof that Congress can't get the job done."

How much more proof does anyone need that the House, while it could get the job done if it wanted to, has no wish to pass anything more than its usual enforcement-only bills, with at most, perhaps, a few breaks for unauthorized immigrant children, agricultural workers, and, possibly, some skilled workers?

This is not to say that President Obama would be free now to rush into unilateral action to help the millions of immigrants and their families who would be devastated if legalization fails to pass Congress. If he does this too soon, Republicans will claim that they were ready to pass reform, but the president sabotaged it by jumping the gun first and showing that he "cannot be trusted" to enforce the law.

The president would also need the courage to stand up against the immigrant-haters who would like nothing better than to use this issue as a means to bring impeachment proceedings against the nation's first African-American chief executive - whose legitimacy many of them have refused to recognize anyway during the past five years.

Timing is important. But does that mean that the president should wait forever for the House to continue stalling and sabotaging reform? There could be an indication that President Obama, if not yet ready to consider Plan B, is at least also losing patience with the House Republicans.

POLITICO's Seung Min Kim, whose coverage of the reform battle has been second to none, reports on the president's latest comment about this topic in her article Obama: GOP politics stopping immigration bill (July 9). Here is the link:

dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=4F07C5B7-5A6D-42CD-BD46-D50DBAE05D26

She writes:

"President Barack Obama insisted Friday that the Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill would pass the GOP-led House, but that 'internal Republican caucus politics' were preventing Congress from sending a comprehensive reform bill to his desk...

In his news conference, Obama did not disclose specific initiatives he would take to enact political pressure on House Republicans to move immigration reform."

She also quotes the President as follows:

" 'When I hear about the opposition to immigration reform, I just run through the list of things [they] are concerned about...I look at what the Senate bill does and I say to myself, you know what? The Senate bill actually improves the situation on every issue they say they're concerned about.' "

The message is clear. The House has no real excuse for not passing the Senate bill, or at least something like it. The president does not say so expressly, but neither does he rule out the possibility that he might take action on his own if the House fails to act.

The extent to which the Senate bill already leans over backwards to address the concerns of the right wing border security and internal enforcement lobby is also illustrated in the above NJ article:

"Meanwhile, the immigrant-advocacy community has a host of complaints about the Senate bill that passed in June, which would provide a tangled, treacherous 13-year path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally...

Activists fear the Senate bill would militarize the border such that no one could live there without being constantly stopped and asked for a a passport. They fear that it will drive undocumented workers who don't qualify for legalization further underground."


So far, the reform debate has been dominated by the anti-immigrant bigots and the politicians who are beholden to them, particularly in the House. It is time for reform advocates to make their voices heard more loudly and for the administration to be prepared if and when House Republicans put the final nails on the coffin of CIR.

The president's comments could be at least a first sign that he might be thinking about Plan B too.