Obama punts on immigration action until after midterm election


President Obama is pushing back any executive action on immigration until after the November midterms, a White House official said on Saturday.

"The reality the president has had to weigh is that we’re in the midst of the political season, and because of the Republicans’s extreme politicization of this issue, the president believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to announce administrative action before the elections," a White House official emailed to the The Hill.

After numerous conversations with his cabinet, members of Congress, and stakeholders, the official said, Obama decided that postponing any executive action was the best route.

The decision goes against the pledge Obama made less than 24 hours earlier on Friday that he would act "soon."

The president does plan to act before the end of the year, the official added.

The White House cited what they called Republican exploitation of the humanitarian situation near the Rio Grande Valley for further justification to delay any executive action by the president.

The White House official touted the decrease in the number of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. along the southwest border in recent month on Saturday, stating the "border is more secure than ever before -- without any help from Republicans in Congress."

While the move by Obama may help vulnerable Democrats in tight reelection races as control of the Senate hangs in the balance, immigration advocates were quick to slam the president's decision on Saturday.

“The president’s latest broken promise is another slap to the face of the Latino and immigrant community," said Cristina Jimenez, director of the larger youth-led group United we Dream.

Jimenez chided the president for "playing politics with the lives of our families" rather than sticking to commitments he made in June that steps would be taken to address the border crisis before the end of the summer.

Leading Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis GutierrezThe Hill's 12:30 Report Election watchdog scrutinizing Florida Dem Senate candidate Juan Williams: Dems should not take Latinos for granted MORE (Ill.), who has urged Obama to take action well before the midterms, is sure to push back against the move.

In a recent op-ed published by The Guardian, Gutierrez said "timid," vulnerable Democrats should "get out of the way," calling on Obama to "lean in and take executive action on immigration  -- now."

This story was updated at 10:42 a.m.