Leading editorial boards are decrying the decision by President Obama to delay executive action on immigration, citing how political fears have triumphed over the pressing need for immigration policy changes.
A New York Times editorial, “Another Broken Promise on Immigration,” reads in part:
The real reason [for delaying executive action], Mr. Obama’s aides have acknowledged, is that the midterm elections are upon us, and Mr. Obama believes the issue is politically too hot. He listened to political operatives who didn’t want to jeopardize Democratic control of the Senate. As for the immigrants and their families and advocates who have been battling for reform and have been disappointed for years, they were once again seen as safely expendable. A political emergency collided with a human one, and the humans lost.
Several Republicans homed in on the disconnect: The president says he wants to do something that is vitally important but only if his party doesn’t have to pay a price in November. It’s so urgent that he has to bypass Congress to get it done. But not so urgent that it can’t wait another month or two.
Mr. Obama has repeatedly made the case for the moral urgency of fixing immigration now, set deadlines for doing so, and broken them. Now Mr. Obama’s aides are saying definitely by New Year’s, he will get around to making good on his promise. This time he really means it.
Here’s what Mr. Obama said in June about the costs of failing to act on immigration: ‘It has meant fewer resources to strengthen our borders. It’s meant more businesses free to game the system by hiring undocumented workers, which punishes businesses that play by the rules, and drives down wages for hard-working Americans. It’s meant lost talent when the best and brightest from around the world come to study here but are forced to leave and then compete against our businesses and our workers. It’s meant no chance for 11 million immigrants to come out of the shadows and earn their citizenship if they pay a penalty and pass a background check, pay their fair share of taxes, learn English and go to the back of the line. It’s meant the heartbreak of separated families.’
That was all true then, and will remain so as long as Mr. Obama and Congress fail to close the gap between oratory and courage and the administration keeps separating families and deporting people. Maybe 60,000 more will be gone by Election Day.
An editorial in Bloomberg View titled, “Fear Immigrates to the White House,” notes in part:
President Barack Obama last weekend heaped another indignity atop the nation’s sorry failure to reckon with immigration realities. There would be no executive action to ease the plight of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., Obama said, before the midterm elections.
With that announcement, which broke his earlier promise, Obama made it all but official: Everyone in Washington is scared of immigration reform…
…All of this leaves the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in limbo. Those opposed to making undocumented immigrants legal citizens continue to block proposed solutions without offering alternatives. They have none. Long-settled undocumented immigrants working and raising families in the U.S. will eventually obtain legal status — with all the caveats and penalties — because it is the only realistic as well as humane course. There will be no mass deportations.
Meanwhile, the American economy, as well as American society, awaits another “shift” in the country’s politics, to a place less fearful and mean than the present.