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Carter: Obama ‘mistaken’ on delaying immigration action

Former President Jimmy Carter said that President Obama was “mistaken” to delay taking unilateral action on immigration and suggested such a decision would not give him a political edge over Republicans in Congress. 

In an interview Thursday just hours before Obama announced his plan to give legal status to 5 million illegal immigrants through executive action, Carter explained it was the right move but suggested it should have happened sooner.

{mosads}”President Obama has worked as well as he can with a recalcitrant House of Representatives,” Carter said on MSNBC’s “Ronan Farrow Daily” show in an interview that aired Friday afternoon. 

Asked if Obama was justified in waiting until after the midterm elections to reveal his executive plans, Carted said, “I think from a partisan point of view he was justified in [waiting] until after the election, but he was mistaken in thinking it would make a difference.”

Carter admitted that he was “a little bit biased on that subject now because all the Democrats lost all over the nation,” including his grandson, Jason Carter, a Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, in a “Republican sweep of America.”

Obama, who initially promised to take action before the end of the summer, punted on the issue in early September until after the midterm elections, a decision widely criticized by immigration advocates and viewed as political by the GOP.

Republicans ended up netting at least eight seats to win control of the Senate, extended their majority in the House and picked up several key governorships in the elections. 

Carter said that Obama was right to circumvent Congress on the issue, explaining that Obama “has tried every possible way to get Congress to pass a reasonable bill.”

Since Obama’s prime-time address Thursday outlining his immigration action, Republicans have promised to act to stop the president’s plan.

“With this action, the president has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at the Capitol on Friday morning. 

“And as I told the president yesterday, he’s damaging the presidency itself.” 

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