Immigration Reform News: President Obama to Delay Executive Action Until After November Election
Two White House officials said President Obama decided on Friday to delay executive action on immigration until after the November congressional elections, as reported by the Associated Press.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the President's decision has not been announced yet but told The Associated Press, "Obama decided that circumventing Congress with executive action would politicize immigration further and hurt efforts to pass a broader immigration reform program."
There are six U.S. Senate seats vulnerable to Republican take over in the upcoming election -- Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina. Iowa's Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is retiring.
News reports have been surfacing over the past week suggesting Obama might delay administrative immigration reform because of the elections, but immigration groups were adamant there be no delay.
On Friday a letter was sent to the President by 136 immigration lawyers from 32 states informing him of his powers of executive action.
Also late Friday, a coalition of grassroots groups, including LULAC, faith leaders and religious groups wrote to ask Obama not to delay as families are being torn apart daily by deportations.
The coalition's letter said, "Every day, more than 1,100 immigrants are separated from their families and their communities because of deportations. And despite assurances from your administration, immigrant workers and their families continue to live in fear of employer retaliation and intimidation, as well as racial profiling and excessive use-of-force by Department of Homeland Security agents who continues to abuse, arrest, detain, and deport our family members and loved ones. Any delay in announcement of administrative relief for aspiring Americans only compounds the suffering, changes ... are already long overdue."
LULAC's Luis Torres said it is not a political organization, but they are concerned with civil rights.
"I think we need to remember here we are talking about real human beings who are affected every day because of the broken immigration system. We are not talking about political calculations and it is unfortunate that has become a part of this conversation recently. If there are people looking at the political calculations, I would suggest they look at the long-term implications of turning their backs on the fastest growing segment of the population and that will be felt. We have Latinos being elected in record numbers, our community is coming out to vote in record numbers, it increases every single year. I think making a short term calculation would be a severe mistake," Luis Torres, director of policy and legislation for LULAC, told Latin Post.
President Obama announced in June he was willing to issue an executive order because of inaction by Congress.
The U.S. Senate did introduce immigration reform legislation which passed in June.
The Republican-led House introduced their own bill, HR 5230, a border supplemental bill with language making it easier to deport Central American children, and HR 5272, which would have ended the President's DACA program. Those bills passed just before the August recess, but they will be unacceptable to the Senate after Congress reconvenes.
In August, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated a presidential executive action could come in September
The officials told The Associated Press that Obama had no specific time to act, but he wants to take executive steps before the end of the year.
During a press conference in Wales at the NATO summit, Obama said he would act without Congress to increase border security and upgrade processing, plus offering immigrants already in the U.S. a way to become legal residents, pay taxes, pay a fine and learn English.
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