Over the weekend, news broke President Obama won't be issuing any executive orders surrounding illegal immigration before the midterm elections. Or as Ed Morrissey wrote Sunday, Obama is delaying any action until voters can no longer immediately punish Democrats.
First, lets take a look at where this came from. When photos inside Border Patrol processing facilities surfaced this summer showing hundreds of unaccompanied children piled up on top of each other and sleeping in cages on floors with just a space blanket, Americans blamed Obama's executive action's for the crisis. Remember this IBD/TIPP poll from July.
The poll found that 59% of those closely following the immigration crisis agree that "current administration policies and lack of focus on securing the border" are behind the human tide of illegal crossings. Six in 10 say that the children should be ordered to leave the country.Obama has delayed his executive action because voters believe executive action on illegal immigration leads to crisis. Further, Obama has delayed action altogether, putting aside the option to work with Congress on reform, because that would require border security first. The administration has repeatedly argued the border is secure, but the latest unaccompanied child crisis and Obama's refusal to work with Congress on the issue of bolstering border security proves otherwise.
As POLITICO reported Speaker John Boehner saying over the weekend, this smacks of politics.
"The decision to simply delay this deeply-controversial and possibly unconstitutional unilateral action until after the election - instead of abandoning the idea altogether - smacks of raw politics,” Boehner said.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley echoed Boehner's sentiments.
"Here he goes again. President Obama's decision to delay administrative amnesty is simply a political move. Whether it's now or later, though, it's the wrong move. It goes against the Constitution and the rule of law. Even the President has said that he doesn't have the authority to unilaterally legalize people like he has already done. He should work with Congress on legislation that makes a difference and can pass both the House and the Senate," Grassley said in a statement. "This President is willing to do about anything to get his way. So, he'll probably go ahead and do it after the election is held, and someday the courts likely will say that he acted unconstitutionally."
Regardless, Obama's open border buddies aren't pleased with his decision and many disappointed Democrats are still saying he should go at reform (whatever that means) alone through executive action.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the highest-ranking Latino lawmaker in Congress and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the president shouldn't wait.
“I’m deeply disappointed that the president hasn't acted where House Republicans have failed to act," Menendez said on "Fox News Sunday."
Rep. Luis Gutierrrez (D-Ill.) said on ABC's "This Week" that politics were clearly behind the decision.
"It's clear that playing it safe is what is going on at the White House and among Democratic circles, and playing it safe means walking away from our values and our principles," Gutierrrez said. "They looked at polling in four or five states where there aren't large Latino constituencies without thinking about the impact that that policy might have in Illinois, in California, in Colorado. And so they walked away."
Meanwhile, the conservative leaning LIBRE Initiative is accusing President Obama of being focused on politics, not Latino concerns as he portrays in speeches and at fundraisers.
"Listening to President Obama make his case for executive action one was led to believe that he was driven by a deep-seated conviction that he was acting on behalf of those seeking to come out of the shadows - and to place the dignity of the individual above all. He said he wanted to do what was best for the nation's economy, to alleviate market forces and honor the integrity of borders. Instead, he is driven strictly by political outcomes. His latest indecision also further undermines the trust of the American people - which has been reflected in his falling approval rating - and erodes any hope of a permanent, bipartisan immigration solution during this administration," Executive Director of the LIBRE Initiative said in a statement. "Reform advocates understand that the best outcome has always been to work with Congress to enact permanent changes in law, rather than issue risky unilateral orders that could be overturned by the courts or by a future president - and that also come with serious unintended consequences. We stand ready to work with the president if he is willing to make a good faith effort. In the meantime, it's disappointing - but not surprising - that the president is again putting political considerations first. That's what he has done all along - ever since he broke his promise to propose legislation in his first year in office. Six years later, that's still what he's doing."
The bottom line is this: President Obama will eventually use executive action on illegal immigration "reform," but he'll wait until it is politically convenient to do so. Right now is not that time for two reasons. The first is Obama's executive action would damage vulnerable Democrats ahead of the midterms and the second, Americans want the border secured before internal reform and have been shown through the unaccompanied child crisis that we are far from that goal.