Obama's Been Too Busy Being President to Issue His Big Immigration Order
The president now says to expect an announcement "soon." But when is soon?
Yes, President Obama is still planning to issue his highly-anticipated executive order on immigration that will enrage Republicans, please many Democrats and make a bunch of others very nervous.
But no, the president is not ready to do it yet, he doesn't know exactly when he will.
Obama was asked about his immigration plans for the umpteenth time Friday at the end of his press conference in Wales.
He pointed out – in case you hadn't noticed – that he's been a bit preoccupied with his efforts to confront a brutal terrorist regime and a land-grabbing Vladimir Putin:
I have to tell you, this week I've been pretty busy focused on Ukraine, and focused on ISIL and making sure NATO is boosting its commitments and following through on what's necessary to meet 21st century challenges."
But as he continued, Obama was a bit more explicit about what he plans to do, and he revealed that Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had begun providing him the recommendations he ordered earlier this year.
I'll be reviewing them, and my expectation is that fairly soon I'll be considering what those next steps are. What I've been unequivocal about is that we need immigration reform, that my overriding preference is to see Congress act. We had bipartisan action in the Senate. The House Republicans have sat on it for over a year. That has damaged the economy. It has held America back, it is a mistake, and in the absence of congressional action, I intend to take action to make sure we're putting more resources on the border, that we're upgrading how we handle these cases, and that we find a way to encourage legal immigration and give people some path so that they can start paying taxes and pay a fine and learn English and be able to not look over their shoulder but be legal, since they’ve been living here for quite some time."
The president concluded by saying he would be making an announcement "soon," but as usual, he did not define what that meant.
The White House had initially promised Obama would act before the end of the summer, but reports in recent days have suggested that he might wait until after the November midterm elections, out of deference to vulnerable Senate Democrats who are worried that a polarizing decision on immigration could imperil their chances of holding the majority.
Obama is facing pressure from all sides as he weighs his big move, and one immigrant advocacy group, the Dream Action Coalition, responded to his comments Friday by imploring the president to stop the "word games."
We need your leadership, Mr. President. We need you to step up where Congress has failed. No more word games. Voters, specially Latino voters, want to see immediate executive action."