Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Monday became the latest Democrat to urge President Barack Obama to act alone on immigration, and said he should "ignore" Republicans who have held up legislation in the House.
"I don't remember hearing one Republican in Congress complain when Republican presidents took executive action on immigration," she wrote to Obama. "I urge you to ignore the angry voices of the do-nothing crowd in Congress who have repeatedly blocked progress on immigration reform."
"If they really cared about fixing our broken immigration system, they would not be threatening to shut down the government or file wasteful lawsuits – they would just do their job and pass comprehensive immigration reform," she wrote.
Boxer and other Democrats have said the failure of the House to consider the Senate's bipartisan immigration bill means Obama needs to move in order to spare millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. Some Republicans, however, say Obama is threatening to rewrite immigration laws without any input from Congress.
For example, Obama is thought to be considering an executive order that would not count green cards given to family members as part of the numerical limits on green cards available each year. The GOP has said those sorts of changes would defy decades of practice under U.S. law, and should take an act of Congress to change.
In her letter, Boxer said many other presidents have used executive action to deal with immigration, and said she supports Obama doing the same.
"I wanted you to know that you will have my strong support if you take executive action to keep our families together and strengthen our economy," she wrote.
Boxer also cited a university study showing that giving illegal immigrants legal status to reside and work in the United States would boost the U.S. economy by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, and increase wages.
Republicans have pointed out other estimates showing that by adding millions of additional foreign workers, some jobs in the economy will see wages fall because of the influx of competition.
Boxer's call for Obama to ignore the GOP was issued just days after 30 senators called on the Senate leaders of both parties to hold a monthly bipartisan lunch, which they said would help build relationships and work in a bipartisan manner.
While Republicans have said they want to try working with the Obama administration, many have said a decision by Obama to act alone would make it almost impossible to work together.