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After a brief round of internal party hair pulling, the Republicans in the house passed an emergency immigration bill that was long on animosity and short on funding for solutions. They then promptly packed up a left town for Summer recess. The senate is deadlocked on any action. That leaves the president with a very complicated and messy problem to deal with without the support or cooperation of congress. According to the Washington Post he is considering taking charge of the situation in what sounds like a more assertive manner than the approach which has typically characterized much of his presidency.

Obama readies executive action on immigration

President Obama is preparing to announce new measures that would potentially allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States without fear of deportation, a politically explosive decision that could jolt Washington just weeks before the midterm elections, according to people who have been in touch with the White House.

Administration officials have told allies in private meetings that both the current surge of Central American children crossing the border and Congress’s failure this year to pass a broader immigration overhaul have propelled the president toward taking action on his own by summer’s end.

Obama aides have discussed a range of options that could provide legal protections and work permits to a significant portion of the nation’s more than 11 million undocumented residents, said Democratic lawmakers and immigrant advocates who have met recently with White House officials. Ideas under consideration could include temporary relief for law-abiding undocumented immigrants who are closely related to U.S. citizens or those who have lived in the country a certain number of years — a population that advocates say could reach as high as 5 million.

But supporters of executive action said the president has little to lose by embracing a broad legalization program that could become a signature achievement in a second term defined by legislative gridlock on Capitol Hill.

Though politically charged, such a move would allow Obama to present a sharp contrast with Republicans — who have remained staunchly opposed to loosening immigration enforcement — and cement Hispanic support for the Democratic Party for years to come, supporters said.

I recently did a diary examining the political implications of the rapidly expanding Latino voting bloc. It really seems like a no brainer that just about anything that Democrats can do to improve the standing of the party's image in the eyes of this population is a solid investment for the future. The Republicans are clearly shooting themselves in the foot on the issue.

Obama spent most of his first term trying to present himself as the bipartisan president. He doesn't have a lot of practical legislative accomplishments to show for that approach. Of course he was looking toward getting elected to a second term. He is now at least beginning to make noises about taking bolder and more confrontational action with his executive powers. The pending law suit by the House Republicans and threats of impeachment appear to be doing wonders for Democrats in the polls.

We shall see if this flirting with an image of a bolder and more assertive Obama turns into practical action on the serious matters of immigration.  

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