From those waiting for U.S. citizenship to reform supporters, many were upset with President Barack Obama when he delayed his decision on immigration reform until after the midterm elections in November 2014. However, Obama minimized the public upset by promising to make a decision before the end of the year and implying that big changes were ahead. Now, with October coming to a close, supporters and activists are concerned that the president will further delay taking action or scale back the reform efforts.
According to Reuters, advocates have put the pressure on the Obama administration to give relief to those at threat of deportation. This comes after a late-October briefing by the president that gave many the impression that he was planning on reducing the number of people who will receive work authorization and protection from deportation to fewer than 3 million. This is a sizeable decrease compared to the figure of 8 million that was proposed in June 2013 with the passage of the Senate bill.
“There’s growing nervousness that instead of going big and bold that the administration might play it cautiously,” Frank Sharry, executive director of advocacy group America’s Voice, told Reuters.
Reasons behind the concerns
The fears of immigration reform advocates are largely based on the political climate as well as a history of broken promises when it comes to reform. A major concern is that President Obama may be less aggressive in his plan if the Republican Party takes hold of the Senate with the upcoming midterm elections; the GOP has made promises to pass legislation that would stop the president from implementing the planned immigration reform initiative.
Despite concerns that the president would further delay actions on immigration reform, the White House is assuring the public that a statement will be made in 2014.
“We expect to make an announcement about these decisions before the end of the year,” White House spokeswoman Katherine Vargas said in a statement.
If he fails to do so, the president and the Democratic Party may be under great scrutiny from the Hispanic population, as Cristina Jimenez of the immigration-reform group United We Dream told Time magazine.
“We won’t take any more excuses,” Jimenez said. “What we expect from the President is for him to use his legal authority to enact a program that will protect as many people from our community as possible.”