Obama Is About to Take a Big Step Backwards on Immigration Reform

Obama Is About to Take a Big Step Backwards on Immigration Reform

The news: President Obama will wait until after the November elections to take action over the nation's growing immigration crisis, the New York Times reported White House Officials said Saturday.

Despite promises that he would act by the end of the summer, Obama has reportedly caved to the concerns of Senate Democrats who worried that the necessary sweeping executive order would energize Republican opponents, thereby damaging the fight for Democratic control of the Senate come November. 

While it makes sense politically, it leaves a lot to be desired in the real world.

Fending off the GOP: Republicans have by and large opposed Obama's promise to use his executive power. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte voiced his concerns at an event in April: "When the president takes action unilaterally in areas that far stretch what the law intended ... that builds mistrust," he said. 

Obama's decision to delay action will likely come under fire from immigration advocacy groups. "Leaders of several immigration groups said their members would be furious with the president for raising — and then dashing — their hopes," reports the New York Times. 

Immigration problems: The immigration crisis has reached a breaking point recently. Thousands of immigrants — many of them young — are waiting at the border, which has provoked outrage on both sides. Proponents of reform, including Obama, say the situation means "no chance for 11 million immigrants to come out of the shadows and earn their citizenship," while opponents like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) claim the president is simply making the situation worse. "The only way to stop the border crisis is to stop Obama's amnesty," Cruz said in July.

Despite his lack of action, White House officials said the president is still committed to pushing forward on reform in the future, but they viewed taking action right now as the wrong decision. "Obama concluded that circumventing Congress through executive actions on immigration during the campaign would politicize the issue and hurt future efforts to pass a broad overhaul," reports the AP.

With this latest development, Obama appears yet again to have been stymied, indirectly this time, by his Republican opponents. It remains to be seen what will happen in November, but it ensures that at the very least 2014 will bring an exceedingly interesting election season.