WASHINGTON -- The push-pull of an immigration overhaul is intensifying as Congress prepares to return to work for one of the last few legislative sessions before the midterm elections.
The window for Congress to approve an immigration overhaul is closing, but House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, continues to suggest that action is still possible -- even as he mocked his colleagues who find the hot-button issue too difficult.
"Here's the attitude: 'Ohhhh. Don't make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,' " Mr. Boehner, mimicking a whining tone, said at an Ohio luncheon, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Mr. Boehner is racing the clock this summer, not only against the coming November election but also against the threat that the White House will take administrative action if Congress fails to act.
President Barack Obama has made clear that his patience has worn thin as House Republicans dabble in the issue, almost a full year after the Senate, controlled by Democrats, approved a sweeping bipartisan immigration law overhaul. Mr. Obama has directed the Homeland Security Department to review the way immigration laws are handled, and that report's emphasis is expected to fall on curbing deportations.
Mr. Obama also faces a time crunch. Advocates for immigrants, including those camped out in front of the White House this month, have tired of administration promises, particularly as deportations have separated families. Labeling Mr. Obama the "deporter in chief," as some have done, is not a legacy the president wants to stick.
But here's the rub: Every time the White House threatens executive actions, it drives Republicans further from any compromise with Democrats. Tea Party-aligned Republicans argue that the president would merely pick and choose which parts of new legislation he would enforce.