Barack Obama punts on immigration until after the election to help vulnerable Senate Democrats

Make no mistake about it. President Barack Obama’s decision to delay an executive order on immigration has nothing to do with Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) recent statement that immigration reform could happen next year, with a new Congress and, possibly, a Republican Senate. It has everything to do with the mid-term election and concerns of vulnerable Senate Democrats, who have urged the White House to delay action:

Abandoning his pledge to act by the end of summer, President Barack Obama has decided to delay any executive action on immigration until after the November congressional elections, White House officials said.

The move is certain to infuriate immigration advocates while offering relief to some vulnerable Democrats in tough Senate re-election contests.

Two White House officials said Obama concluded that circumventing Congress through executive actions on immigration during the campaign would politicize the issue and hurt future efforts to pass a broad overhaul.
[…]
The officials said Obama had no specific timeline to act, but that he still would take his executive steps before the end of the year.

The last two paragraphs in the excerpt above are contradictory. President Obama realizes that an executive order would make it difficult to pass immigration reform in his remaining two years. But he still plans to do something before the end of the year, anyway. That doesn’t make any sense.

Whatever President Obama decides to do, he’s made Senate Democrats happy. The issue could have been a big headache for vulnerable members — including Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Pryor (D-AK) — with control of the upper chamber very much on the line in November.

It’s already bad enough that vulnerable Senate Democrats are running against President Obama and his agenda, which they’ve largely supported, in the mid-term election, but an executive action on immigration would make it that much more difficult to win in four Republican-leaning states.


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