Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published May 28, 2014 at 6:39 PM | Page modified May 28, 2014 at 10:34 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Obama backs off deportation fix, leaving GOP on hook for stalling on immigration

President Obama’s allies hope that by holding off on controversial steps to ease deportations, Democrats can keep the focus on the failure of Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to bring immigration to a vote.


The Associated Press

advertising

WASHINGTON — When President Obama said he was looking for ways to ease deportations without going through Congress, Republicans called it overreach, saying it’s Obama — not Republicans — undermining prospects for an immigration overhaul by proving he can’t be trusted to enforce the law.

As a narrow window opens in which Congress could act on immigration, Obama is working to turn the tables on Republicans. He’s delaying any executive actions on deportation in hopes that Republicans will bear all the blame if that window closes with the nation’s immigration system no closer to being fixed.

It’s an election-year gambit with the potential to backfire: By again asking for patience from frustrated immigration activists, Obama is driving up expectations about actions he’ll take if the fight in Congress ultimately fails.

“It’s an audacious strategy,” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said. “But it has some downsides to it, too.”

Two months after Obama commissioned a review of how deportations in America can be more humane, the Obama administration said Tuesday that Obama had asked his homeland-security secretary, Jeh Johnson, to hold off on releasing the results of that review until August.

That’s when lawmakers leave Washington to focus on campaigning ahead of the November elections.

Administration officials said the delay is intended to give the GOP as much breathing room as possible to maneuver now that most GOP primaries are over, freeing incumbent Republicans from concerns about challenges from conservatives who oppose an immigration overhaul.

Yet Obama’s allies also hope that by holding off on controversial steps to ease deportations, Democrats can keep the focus on the failure of Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to bring immigration to a vote.

“Giving the Republicans space takes away their final excuse,” said Jim Wallis, president of Christian social-justice group Sojourners. “It’s all now focused on John Boehner.”

Republicans dismissed the notion that Obama’s move makes it easier for Republicans to act on immigration, noting that Obama has only delayed — not removed — the threat that he’ll go over lawmakers’ heads if they don’t act by August.

“It’s completely inappropriate for the president to threaten Congress that he will unconstitutionally act on his own if Congress doesn’t produce a bill to his political liking within his own made-up time frame,” said House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

If lawmakers stall, Obama will be short on excuses not to take the aggressive executive action on deportations that activists long have demanded.

Most Americans — 55 percent — favor providing a legal way for those in the U.S. illegally to become citizens, according to a May AP-GfK poll, including 73 percent of Democrats.



Free 4-week trial, then $99 a year for unlimited seattletimes.com access. Try it now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

Looking for joy on the job


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►