President Barack Obama said Saturday he will wait until after the November midterm elections to announce any action on immigration reform, drawing criticism from Republicans who accused the president of playing political games. The announcement Saturday reverses a statement Obama made in June when he ordered his team to suggest executive actions he could take to stem deportations by the end of the summer.
Obama believes establishing comprehensive immigration reform in the middle of an election season would be "harmful" to the effort of creating a sustainable policy "because of the Republicans' extreme politicization of this issue," a White House official said. Obama urged Congress to act on immigration reform but made clear that he would use his executive action to change the "broken" system before 2015 if Washington lawmakers don't act.
House Speaker John Boehner said that the time is never right for the president to “declare amnesty,” but Obama’s decision to delay the “possibly unconstitutional action … smacks of raw politics.” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said Obama’s decision to delay the policy “is a blatant admission that this is not just the wrong policy for the president's liberal friends, but for the American people." And Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Obama was waiting to “go around the law” but only after it’s too late for voters to hold the Democratic Party “accountable.”
The delay was also slammed by some immigration reform advocates who called it Obama's "latest broken promise" and "another slap to the face of the Latino and immigrant community."
Obama is expected to discuss immigration reform, among other topics, with Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
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— Luke Russert and Elisha Fieldstadt