Obama Considers Delaying Immigration Reform

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 30 2014 12:26 PM

Obama Considers Delaying Immigration Reform

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President Barack Obama crosses the tarmac to greet wellwishers upon arrival at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The White House is pouring cold water on President Obama’s earlier vow to take executive action on immigration reform by the end of the summer. It will still happen, aides insist, but likely closer to the end of the year. Although officials emphasize that no decision has been made, Obama himself seemed to hint at the change earlier this week, saying his timeline could be affected by the need to deal with the surge of migrant children arriving at the border from Central America. "Some of these things do affect timelines, and we're just going to be working through as systematically as possible in order to get this done," Obama said.

The real reason for any delay though would mostly be electoral, notes the New York Times. The White House is increasingly concerned about what any executive action could mean for Democratic Senate candidates, which is why executive action could be pushed back until after the November midterms. The move would come as some Democrats in closer races have publicly called for Obama to not circumvent Congress on the controversial issue.

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Talking of any delay in reform is “putting the cart before the horse,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. But pushing back the issue will anger immigration advocates who are running out of patience with the White House. Delaying action until after the midterms could lead to even more political problems if Republicans win control of the Senate, notes the Washington Post. That could ultimately end up translating into much more tepid action than what the immigrant rights groups have been demanding.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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