U.S. News


Obama Pushes Back Executive Action On Immigration

Obama is postponing making a move on immigration reform, going back on a vow he made in June to use executive action by the end of summer.
Posted at 5:15 PM, Sep 06, 2014

In June, President Obama vowed to use executive action to pass immigration reforms by the end of the summer.

"And that's why today, I'm beginning a new effort to fix as much as of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress."

But two months later, the president says that's not going to happen.

FOX NEWS: "Breaking today, White House officials are now saying President Obama will not act on immigration until after the November midterm elections."

Citing a White House official, The New York Times reports that Obama made the decision due to "the Republicans' extreme politicization of this issue" and the belief that it would damage future opportunities for reform.

The president and Democrat-controlled Senate have tried to pass a comprehensive reform bill several times, but the Republican-controlled House blocked it, preferring a series of piecemeal deals instead.

That reasoning hasn’t appeased his critics though, with immigration activists expressing their disappointment in what they see as a failure to help them.

The director of United We Dream, an immigration advocacy group, released a statement saying "Dreamers will not soon forget the president and Democrats's latest failure and their attempts to fool the Latino community."

Dreamers are undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors and benefit from the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM act. They are protected from deportation in two-year intervals.

A political reporter for Time shared a statement from the DREAM Action Coalition saying Obama has "solidified his 'Deporter-in-Chief' legacy."

But, the Los Angeles Times says some groups are urging people to direct their anger not at Obama but Republicans with one pro-reform group saying:

"Republicans failed the American people by refusing to vote on meaningful immigration reform. Holding them accountable in November is a promise that we intend to keep … and we refuse to become victims of 'wait' and the status quo."

And some people simply see the move as political maneuvering, plain and simple. After all, Obama's use of executive action on immigration would've no doubt been controversial.

BEN FERGUSON: "Barack Obama said I'm going to take executive actions, and the reason why he's not is because he knows that it is so unpopular that his own party is saying 'do not do this while I'm running for reelection.'"

The move no doubt comes as a relief to Senate Democrats who've voiced concerns over Obama using executive action, worrying it'd hurt them in the midterm elections.

According to The Hill, Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, both seen to be vulnerable candidates in the coming elections, said they'd rather see the reforms pass through Congress than through a unilateral move.

Of course, not all Democrats will be satisfied with the change of course. The Washington Post writes:

"The decision is likely to infuriate many Democrats who have said Obama taking executive action before the elections could embolden Democratic base voters to turn out in key elections."

With midterm elections in November, those expecting immigration reform will have to wait at least two months until Washington takes up the issue again.