At the end of June, President Barack Obama announced that he would take executive action on immigration reform if Congress failed to do so by the end of summer. Then, on Sept. 6 at the NATO Summit in Wales, he said that he would wait until after congressional elections in November to say what his next steps will be for repairing the nation’s broken immigration system.
According to Reuters, the president cited a shift in politics over the summer as his reason for delaying executive action. President Obama said he had to weigh his options for using executive action before the elections in order to help Democrats keep control of the Senate. By acting before elections, President Obama risked a higher voter turnout for those who are against immigration reform policies that would grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants.
Also, in the last few weeks, Republicans have threatened to stop budget talks if the president took his own actions on immigration reform. This could potentially lead to a similar situation to the one that occurred in 2013, when Republicans in Congress worked together to shut down the U.S. government for three weeks.
Many immigration advocates were disappointed by President Obama’s announcement to delay actions regarding immigration reform and accused him of putting politics first, Reuters reported.
“Today the president and the Senate Democrats have made it very clear that undocumented immigrants and Latinos are simply viewed as political pawns,” Eddie Carmona, campaign manager for the PICO immigration reform group, told Reuters.
Despite his decision to delay executive action on immigration reform, President Obama did vow to address the issue by the end of 2014, the Latino Daily News reported. When he does act, the president is expected to relieve deportations for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, increase enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border, and encourage immigrants coming to the U.S. to follow the proper procedure.