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Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Immigrant Advocates Want Obama to Act on Immigration Before November 2014 Elections

First Posted: Sep 04, 2014 10:17 AM EDT
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Photo : Alex Wong/Getty Images

On a telephone press conference on Wednesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and other immigrant advocates urged President Barack Obama to act on immigration immediately in response to reports of a delay.

In June, Obama said that he would take executive action on immigration by the end of summer, MSNBC reports. On Tuesday, however, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that while this is still possible, "there is the chance it could be after the summer."

During Wednesday's press call, which included members of America's Voice, United We Dream and the National Council of La Raza, activists urged Obama to keep his original promise.

"It's not just one more delayed promise," Lorella Praeli, director of policy and advocacy for United We Dream, said. "It means people like my mother and millions more will continue to be vulnerable to deportation."

According to EFE, it has been suggested that the delay is due to fear of damaging Senate Democrats' chances in November re-elections.

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, deputy vice president of the National Council of La Raza, said she was "deeply disappointed" at the possibility of a delay, Politico reports.

Frank Sherry, executive director of America's Voice, called the delay "bad politics."

"It is better that the president make a decision now and then let people know what that public policy is before they go to the [polls]. Why wait until after the election?" Gutierrez said according to EFE. "Let's not be afraid of standing for our values, of standing for what we believe in as Democrats."

The representative also encouraged Democrats to stand down so that Obama could take action, Voxxi reports.

"I say to the Democrats: Stand aside," he said. "Let the president make the decision. Let him announce it and stop this stopping the progress of our community towards justice. Just step aside."

On Tuesday, Earnest said that Obama is not "focused" on political effects of taking action, EFE reports.

In June, Obama requested recommendations on enacting immigration reform without approval from Congress from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder, but he has yet to receive them.

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