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Obama May Delay Immigration Action Until After Midterms

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 11:12 AM

President Barack Obama may delay executive action on immigration until after the November midterm elections as Democrats fight to maintain control of the Senate.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, citing sources, reported that Obama is considering stepping back largely to avoid endangering the re-election hopes of some foundering Democrats.

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Back in June, after House Republicans refused to pass immigration overhaul legislation, the president said he would make changes for immigration on his own, a promise that Republicans said would mean Obama is exceeding his legal authority.

Meanwhile, several Democrat senators seeking reelection in vulnerable states, including Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Alaska's Mark Begich, and New Hampshire's Jeanne Shaheen, all agree that Congress, not Obama, should address immigration.

Such Democrats are already in a difficult place as the elections come, having to decide whether to seek his support or shun him.

Obama's overall approval is underwater, with a weekly favorability rating of 43 percent, according to Gallup.

But some of the illegal immigration pressure on Obama appears to be lessening, particularly with the slowdown in children crossing the border illegally.

At the height of the surge, around 350 children were being caught every day, the Department of Homeland Security reports, but in August, that flow has dropped to 104 minors daily, making it lower than any month since early 2013.

Since the migrations have slowed, the Department of Health and Human Services no longer needs to house children at military bases, and is no longer looking for temporary shelter spaces.

On Thursday, Obama hinted the slowing situation could affect his timing, but did not say if the matter would be delayed.

"Some of these things do affect timelines, and we’re just going to be working through as systematically as possible in order to get this done," Obama told reporters Thursday.

However, pro-immigration America's Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry, said the party will appear "weak-kneed" if Obama backs down before the midterms, and the president will have promised "more than he delivers."

"This is a moment of leadership for the administration, for the president," Lorella Praeli of  United We Dream, the largest network of young illegals tells the Times. "Is he going to succumb to the threats from the Republican Party, or is he going to lead?"

Delaying executive action would not make his move more popular, said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring, as "he has neither the legal authority nor the public support to do it."

Obama is reportedly also considering changes to expand the visa program for legal immigration that could give work permits to more young people brought to the United States as children.

Authorities say the falloff in illegal immigration may be attributable to efforts to let Central Americans know that minors who arrive illegally or alone will be deported and by Mexico's move to increase its border security to stop migrants from passing through.

"The situation at the border remains fluid," said Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. "It is too early to tell whether these trends will be sustained over time."

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