President Barack Obama is already taking heat for his decision to back off a much-touted pledge to take executive action on immigration reform by the end of summer.
“The President has shown that, once again, he has been scared out of his boots by some of the least reasonable elements within the Republican Party,” Cesar Vargas, co-director of the DREAM Action Coalition, said in a statement released soon after the news broke on Saturday morning.
After Congress stalled on the issue earlier this year, Obama promised to use executive action to fix some elements of the U.S. immigration system in the near future. The exact measures Obama was planning to take were unclear, but they could have potentially shaped the course of his presidency in the face of steep Republican resistance.
“If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours. I expect their recommendations before the end of summer and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay,” Obama said in June.
However, Obama bowed to political pressure, according to reports citing anonymous White House aides, and decided to hold off acting on his own until after the 2014 midterm elections. His administration also reportedly insisted that immediate action could hamper eventual legislative reform.
Vargas and his fellow co-director, Erika Andiola, accused Obama of placing politics over the substantive needs of immigrant families.
“Tea Party members … have shown who is boss on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This is not just a delay on immigration policy, this is about real families, who will suffer an addition 1,100 deportations per day until he acts,” Vargas said.
“The President chose politics over families.This is not a courageous president that stood up to Republican scare tactics, and wrongly persuaded by Democrats that any delay will help them,” added Andiola. “With this delay the president has broken yet another promise to the Latino community.”
Other groups also soon piled on. Cristina Jimenez, managing director for United We Dream, issued a statement blasting Obama’s “latest broken promise” as “another slap to the face of the Latino and immigrant community.”
“To wait nine more weeks means that I must again look my mother in the eye and see the fear she has about living under the threat of deportation every day. I must tell her that the President and the Democratic Party think that she will have to live with the threat of imminent deportation because Democratic leadership and the President are more interested in politics than in protecting immigrant families,” Jimenez continued.
Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, concurred.
“We are bitterly disappointed in the president and we are bitterly disappointed in the Senate Democrats,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “We advocates didn’t make the reform promise; we just made the mistake of believing it. The president and Senate Democrats have chosen politics over people, the status quo over solving real problems.”
The president is reportedly expected to explain his thinking on the subject more fully Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Update (1:25 p.m.): With United we Dream and America’s Voice statements.
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