Why is Obama delaying executive action on immigration?

After announcement that he will delay executive action on immigration, critics claim he is playing politics

President Barack Obama’s announcement that he would delay executive action on immigration until after the midterm elections is eliciting criticism from the left and the right. He denies that the decision was based on political calculations.

Chuck Todd questioned Obama about the motivation behind the decision on “Meet the Press” this Sunday. “What are you going to tell the person who is deported before the election that this decision was essentially made in your hopes of saving a Democratic Senate?” he asked.

“That’s not the reason,” Obama responded. “What I’ve determined is, I want to get it right.”

His assurances may not prove enough to assuage the anger of Democratic supporters and Republican critics in Congress.

“How cynical is that, that the president is now going to do something at a different date than he has promised repeatedly because he's afraid that if he does it now, the American people will have an opportunity to register their opinion come November?” said Rep. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

Some Democrats qualified their criticism of Obama with condemnation of House Republicans.

“The president signaled that he would not move forward on comprehensive immigration reform,” said Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla. “And we are deeply disappointed. However we should be angry, angry that this House has not had the courage to take up comprehensive immigration reform.”

Last year the Senate passed a bipartisan bill that would overhaul immigration policy.

It is still in the hands of the House of Representatives.

“The reason I said we need a step-by-step approach to this is so we can build trust with the American people for doing this the right way,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

With the House refusing to act on immigration, Obama said all summer he would sidestep Congress through executive action.

“America cannot wait forever for them to act. And that’s why today I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” he said in June. “The only thing I can’t do is stand by and do nothing while waiting for them to get their act together.”

In the meantime, the impact of the immigration decision on the upcoming midterm elections remains to be seen. All eyes are on control of the Senate. Democratic senators are in tight races in three Southern states where immigration reform is controversial: North Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Is Obama’s reversal based on political calculations?

Will the delay help keep the Senate in Democratic hands?

How will the decision affect the prospects for immigration reform?

We asked a guest panel of experts these questions and more on this edition of “Inside Story.”

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Barack Obama

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Topics
Immigration
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Barack Obama

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