In June, President Obama promised to unilaterally act on immigration, only to break that promise in September as the election cycle neared. Governing is not easy with an uncooperative legislature. Until the president finds a willing and functional legislature, however, he must wield his constitutional power to protect our liberties and keep American families together.

The president's promise to take executive action is not a political favor to a Fortune 500 company; rather, it is an imperative effort to ameliorate the administration's harsh and failed deportation record: More than 2 million people, including 72,000 deportations of U.S.-born children, have been deported, and immigration programs like Secure Communities (SCOMM) have resulted in local police departments violating people's Fourth Amendment constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizures.


Recognizing political life is contingent on volatile circumstances, it's no big deal if a party or politician hungers for political survival; it becomes reprehensible, however, when they accept bad politics to survive. Delaying executive action on immigration to "save" Senate Democrats was bad politics.

This year's races will be won by small margins. Why not energize a base, including the deciding base, that will help you win by showing voters bold presidential leadership that stands up to Republican extremism and obstruction?

According to a recent poll, failure to sign an executive order on immigration would "significantly depress turnout" amongst Latinos in 2014 and beyond.

The Republican Party is currently too extreme and engulfed in a bitter infighting that has crippled its ability to legislate. Equally repellant, Democrat leadership has been weak and opportunistic.

Democrats, with notable exceptions, have become deceptively clever in exploiting constituent groups to win elections, discarding them when it becomes electorally inconvenient. This extends not only to the politicians, but also sham allies that have become overly enthusiastic puppets of the party.

Even the president's advisers have discarded the promises and hopes that inspired a nation in 2008. While there are still some in the White House, like Cecilia Munoz, who truly work every day for a solution, there are still others who see immigration as a political game board for the advancement of their own careers and their party (they know who they are).

The tragic reality is that those calling for a delay will be responsible for fathers and mothers being torn apart from their children. While to operatives this may not matter, the following definitely does: The Democratic Party is on the verge of losing a generation of voters that have lost confidence in their leadership.

Leaders are memorialized by the pages of history for their vision to lift a nation out of cynicism. Indeed, that is the difference between a statesman and a politician — a statesman manages the torrent politics of an issue with an eye toward a solution, whereas a politician is carried away by partisan politics of everyone against everyone. Senators like John McCainJohn Sidney McCainConservative group cuts ties with Michelle Malkin Democratic debate at Tyler Perry's could miss the mark with black voters Donald Trump's 2020 election economic gamble MORE (R-Ariz.) and the late Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) represent the former, while senators like Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganDemocrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems shift strategy on impeachment vote Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan dies at 66 MORE (D-N.C.) and Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorTom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Medicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation MORE (D-Ark.) represent the latter.

Legislation is the ultimate solution, and we will remain steadfast to achieve that. Time and time again, however, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFrom learning on his feet to policy director Is Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush MORE (R-Ohio) has shown that he can't even manage the basic politics of his own conference, let alone manage significant legislation in his chamber; the Tea Party Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran Cruz, Graham and Cheney call on Trump to end all nuclear waivers for Iran Pompeo: US ending sanctions waiver for site where Iran resumed uranium enrichment MORE (R-Texas) and extremist Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingWhy the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy MSNBC's Donny Deutsch: 'Pathetic' Republicans who stormed closed hearing are 'boring, nerdy-looking white guys' Overnight Defense: Trump lifts sanctions on Turkey | 'Small number' of troops to remain by Syrian oil fields | Defense official's impeachment testimony delayed five hours after Republicans storm secure room MORE (R-Iowa) have been more effective in controlling House members.

Republicans know that any significant executive action on immigration will demonstrate to voters, particularly Latino voters, that the president has chosen to be the adult in the room and act where Congress has failed to. And Republicans continue scaring the President out of acting. Will the president fall for the GOP's political psy-ops? The answer so far has been "yes." Executive action is the first step that will get us to our goal of comprehensive immigration reform.

"I'm going to need you to have my back," President Obama said to Latino leaders of the support he needed once he took action. Dreamers and the American people have your back, Mr. President. But first, we need to be inspired again: We need a president who can lead us as a statesman who can usher a nation to change we can believe in; keep your promise to act bold on immigration.

Vargas is co-director of the DREAM Action Coalition and a national activist for immigration reform.