Dropping his pledge to act by the end of summer, President Obama has decided to delay any executive action on immigration until after the November congressional elections, White House officials said. The move is certain to infuriate immigration advocates while offering relief to some vulnerable Democrats in tough Senate re-election contests. Two White House officials said Obama concluded that circumventing Congress through executive actions on immigration during the campaign would politicize the issue and hurt future efforts to pass a broad overhaul.
The officials said that Obama had no specific timeline to act, but that he still would take his executive steps before the end of the year. In a Rose Garden speech on June 30, Obama said he had directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to give him recommendations for executive action by the end of summer. Obama also pledged to "adopt those recommendations without further delay." Obama faced competing pressures from immigration advocacy groups that wanted prompt action and from Democrats worried that acting now would energize Republican opposition against vulnerable Senate Democrats. (Read more President Obama stories.)