Fears are growing among activists for immigration reform that President Obama may scale back or even once again delay taking executive action on the issue, in the United States, which he pledged to take before the end of this year.
If the Republican party, which has promised to block Obama from taking any action, gains control of the Senate in the congressional elections next week, advocates fear the president will back off from his previously aggressive stance. “Ultimately it is about political will,” admits the National Immigration Law Center’s executive director, Marielena Hincapie. “They are more likely to take a more cautious approach that they think will be palatable to both Republicans and Democrats, but also probably to the American public.”
A number of advocates have received briefings from White House officials and fear that less than three million undocumented immigrants will gain relief from the president’s plans, with these worries being increased by what is perceived as a prior history of broken promises. “There’s growing nervousness that instead of going big and bold that the administration might play it cautiously,” notes advocacy group America’s Voice executive director Frank Sharry.
Katherine Vargas, spokeswoman for the White House, has tried to quieten fears about another delay by saying that an announcement is still expected before the close of 2014. Recommendations are still pending from Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Attorney General Eric Holder, and Obama has yet to reach a final decision.