With an August recess approaching and midterm elections coming up this fall, Senate Democrats are laying down the gauntlet on immigration reform legislation. On Thursday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), a key proponent of reform in the chamber who also co-authored the comprehensive bill passed by the Senate last summer, told The Hill that if House Republicans didn’t take up the issue before the recess, President Barack Obama would take executive action on the issue. “They have about a six-week window, from June 10 after the last Republican primary until the August recess. If they don’t pass immigration reform them, the president will have no choice but to act on his own,” Schumer said.

Politico reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) echoed Schumer’s calls, adding that House Republicans could take up Senate Democrats’ earlier offer to pass a reform which would not take effect until 2017, when Obama is out of office -- a compromise designed to circumvent GOP members’ claim that they don’t trust the president to follow through with border-security and enforcement measures established in a bill.

Meanwhile, speaking before a crowd of supporters at a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago, President Obama said if Democrats didn’t pull off an upset in this November’s midterm elections, an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system wouldn’t happen. If he’s right, things don’t look good: a poll released on Monday shows that 41 percent of likely voters in districts with seats up for grabs this season said they’d vote Republican, compared to 31 percent going for the Democratic candidate. 

Executive action by Obama would likely seek to ease enforcement operations aimed at undocumented immigrants without records of serious crime. Immigrant advocates and their Democratic allies in both houses of Congress have urged the president to expand protections from deportation to the estimated 8 million undocumented who would have gained legal status under the comprehensive Senate bill. But such sweeping action is unlikely, as the administration has repeatedly pointed to the odds that it could torpedo any future legislative fix.