At the beginning of the summer, President Obama said that he was directing his administration to come up with steps that he could take as president to deal with immigration issues in light of the fact that the House of Representatives had made it clear that it would not be acting on either the bill that the Senate passed last year or any other bill before the midterm elections.
Almost immediately, the president’s announcement was cited by many on the right as another sign of the executive overreach that they have accused him of for several years now, and which is also the basis for the lawsuit that the House of Representative recently authorized to be filed against him. More recently, some members of Congress, most especially Sen. Ted Cruz (R) of Texas, hinted that if the president took any such action prior to the midterms, then Republicans in Congress would be forced to consider shutting down the government over the issue. Indeed, Senator Cruz himself had threatened such a shutdown earlier this summer, although he and other Republicans have backed off of that talk in recent weeks and have asserted that all of the talk of shutdowns is coming from Democrats.
On the other side of the political aisle, the pressures on President Obama have been pulling him in different directions. On the one side are the groups that have been pushing for immigration reform for some time now, including organized labor, and are now pressing him to at least do something similar to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that he announced last year. On the other side, though, are party officials and, especially, vulnerable Democrats, who are concerned that executive action announced before the midterm elections would only serve to increase turnout from those opposed to immigration reform. While it’s unclear what the president is going to do, there have been several recent hints from the White House that we shouldn’t expect any action any time soon.