Immigration activists are continuing to urge President Obama to take executive action on immigration reform, despite signs from the White House that the president may be considering delaying the expected change in the deportation policy until the November midterm elections have been completed.
Obama has expressed frustration with the gridlock in Congress over the immigration issue and suggested that he might make the necessary changes himself using his executive authority; however, the legal and political dilemmas involved in taking such unilateral action without the approval of Congress are enormous, with Obama now admitting that he may delay taking such action. Advocates for immigration reform are warning, however, that yet more delays could lead to a backlash.
“Expectations are sky high,” says the executive director of immigration advocacy organization America’s Voice, Frank Sharry adding: “The disappointment and anger is likely to be profound.” Others have pointed out that continuing to delay immigration reform will only result in more families being unable to stay together and more immigrants being hurt; on average, around 1,000 undocumented immigrants are being deported from the United States every single day.
A White House official says that the president might delay the most controversial and far-reaching changes until the November midterm elections are over. “The one concern, of course, is the number of families that will be separated from now until November,” says the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ director of public affairs and migration policy, Kevin Appleby. “We would like to see families protected as soon as we can; however, we’d like to see them protected in a permanent way.”