President Obama has come under heavy criticism for choosing to delay issuing a temporary solution to immigration via executive authority. His decision to delay this temporary action until after midterm elections resulted in him breaking a promise made this summer to all immigrant activists and immigrant community.
Pres. Obama defended his decision in a Meet The Press exclusive interview.
In his interview, Pres. Obama argues the refugee crisis this summer created a political “shift.” This has caused folks across the country to think we're being swarmed by people crossing the border when, in reality, number of entries continue to drop significantly. Pres. Obama says his administration wants to clarify these facts before issuing a temporary solution.
Immigration activists and supporters are disappointed, hurt, and furious at Pres. Obama.
United We Dream had this to say about the decision: “President Barack Obama has further cemented his legacy as the #DeporterInChief by delaying the usage of his executive authority to stop the deportation of millions of immigrants.” Their site shows a number dial tracking the amount of deportations — now well over 2 million — that have occurred under his administration. This is followed by a message asking visitors to sign a letter demanding the president to act now on immigration.
Supporters of immigration have every reason to be upset. This isn't even the first time Pres. Obama backtracks on his promises.
Activists are accusing Pres. Obama of playing politics on behalf of concerned Democrats running in key Senate races. “When candidate Obama asked our community for support in 2008 and 2012, he urged us all to vote based on our hopes, not our fears. Today, President Obama gave in to the fears of Democratic political operatives, crushing the hopes of millions of hard-working people living under the constant threat of deportation and family separation,” said National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguía.
Frankly, Democratic concerns over losing the Senate does seem as though is the real motive behind the delay. Not to say Pres. Obama is right and that he should continue to break his promises, but everyone has a lot to lose this election, especially our undocumented community, if Republicans win.
We have to remember who the real enemy is here. And it is not the Democrats.
I sincerely wish Pres. Obama would have done the right thing and kept his promise in using a temporary solution to immigration. But if that would have meant Republicans keeping control of the House and winning the Senate, I'm not sure exactly how the cause would have benefited moving forward with immigration reform — which is ultimately the main goal. Reform is absolutely dead by that point. Even if Republicans do win the Senate, Pres. Obama can then at least still issue this temporary executive solution.
A temporary executive action has never been our main goal. Reform is our main objective. The fight isn't over until we exhaust those who oppose immigration. Democrats continue to be our only hope for immigration reform.
We have to remember the bigger story surrounding immigration reform: We wouldn't even be still discussing the issue right now if it weren't for Republicans being so senselessly opposed to it.
Pres. Obama is not on the ballot box this midterm election. Who controls the House and the Senate is — and with this, the future of immigration reform.
As someone with very personal ties to the immigrant community, my heart goes out to all the 70,000 people that will be deported until election day. This is an extremely difficult situation that opponents of reform have driven us straight into. We must not forget this come November.
Follow Omar on Twitter at @AraizaTX.