White House

Obama postpones immigration action until post-election

Protesters walk the streets of Washington, D.C. blocking a major intersection near the Capitol and calling for a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million unauthorized immigrants, Aug. 1, 2013.
Protesters walk the streets of Washington, D.C. blocking a major intersection near the Capitol and calling for a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million unauthorized immigrants, Aug. 1, 2013. Abaca Press/MCT

President Barack Obama is delaying a plan to unilaterally change immigration laws until after the November election, with the White House citing “extreme politicization” of the issue by Republicans.

Obama had pledged to act before the end of summer, but vulnerable Senate Democrats in a number of states had feared that White House action could cost them at the ballot box.

A White House official said Obama is still committed to an immigration overhaul, but that given Republican “extreme politicization” of the issue, he believes doing it now would hurt the policy and the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Because he wants to do this in a way that’s sustainable, the president will take action on immigration before the end of the year,” the official said.

Furious immigration advocates accused Obama of going back on his word to overhaul the system.

“President Obama has broken yet another promise he had made to immigrant families,” said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, a member of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. “By cowing before squeamish Democratic Senators and GOP bullies he has put politics ahead of the lives of immigrants and urgent needs of America.”

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