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Schumer offers answer to GOP’s fear on Obama and immigration: enact now, start law in 2017

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FILE: Feb. 17, 2012: Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer offered a compromise Sunday with House Republicans who say they cannot pass immigration reform legislation for fear President Obama won’t enforce the related laws -- pass the legislation now and enact it when the president leaves office.

"Let's enact the law this year, but simply not let it actually start until 2017, after President Obama's term is over,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Schumer, who helped lead his chamber last summer in passing comprehensive reform legislation, dismissed the argument that Obama would not enforce tighter border security law and other related laws, as House Speaker John Boehner suggested last week.

“There's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws, and it's going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes," Boehner said Thursday, after months of saying he wanted to move ahead with reform and releasing a set of principles in late January outlining such a bill.”

He and other Republicans point in part to the president’s recent vow to use executive orders to sidestep Congress, making recent changes to the Affordable Care Act and creating a program two years ago that defers deportation for roughly a half-million young people brought to the United State illegally as children.

“I think that the rap against him -- that he won't enforce the law -- is false,” Schumer continued Sunday. “He's deported more people than any other president. But you could actually have the law start in 2017 without doing much violence to it.”

How serious Schumer was about the proposal was unclear Sunday.

Missouri GOP Rep. Roy Blunt told “Fox News Sunday” that the House reluctance has a lot to do with the “president's constantly talking about how he can use his pen and his telephone” to work around Congress.

The Democrat-controlled Senate last year passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a 13-year path to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million people now living illegally in the United States. The Republican-led House has instead proposed tighter border security first, then only legal status for illegal immigrants.