Sen. Charles Schumer: 2017 start date could be immigration solution

4:16 PM, Feb 9, 2014   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- The author of a Senate bill to overhaul the immigration system says he has a solution to Republican concerns that President Obama wouldn't enforce the law: Have it take effect in 2017.

"There's a simple solution. Let's enact the law this year, but simply not let it actually start until 2017, after President Obama's term is over," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on NBC's Meet the Press. "You could actually have the law start in 2017 without doing much violence to it."

Schumer's parry came three days after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, cast doubt on the fate of immigration reform this year. saying House Republicans weren't moving a bill because of "widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws."

STORY: Boehner: Distrust of Obama drags down immigration bill

The Senate bill already has a series of effective date triggers that could delay some key provisions of the law until the secretary of Homeland Security certifies that the borders are secure.

Schumer said an immigration bill will only get more difficult in 2015 and 2016, as the presidential race heats up and Republican contenders move to the right in order to win the GOP primary. Two possible contenders - Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. -- have also cited mistrust of Obama as an impediment to an immigration bill.

But Schumer also acknowledged that optimism for a deal is waning. "It's been a tough week for immigration," he said.

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