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 McCainMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Jennifer Lawrence says until Trump she was 'a little Republican' Senate is leaning to the Democrats, big time, with a wave MORE (R-Ariz.) and the late Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) represent the former, while senators like Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's job approval erodes among groups that powered his 2016 victory MORE (D-N.C.) and Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Tom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Medicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 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 BoehnerPelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats On The Trail: How Trump lost the law and order debate 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 CruzQuinnipiac poll finds Biden, Trump tied in Texas China could cut our access to critical minerals at any time — here's why we need to act The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base MORE (R-Texas) and extremist Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingDemocrats lead in 3 of 4 Iowa House races: poll Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it 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.