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Election Backlash and Broken Promises - 20/20 Hindsight

Election Backlash and Broken Promises - 20/20 Hindsight

"I am not going to give up this fight until it is done." This is what the President told leaders at the Hispanic Congressional Caucus Institute after he broke his promise to act on immigration by way of executive action by the end of summer. The President broke his promise and delayed action at the behest of democratic leaders who feared the President's proposed unilateral immigration reform would cause a backlash against Democrats in the mid-term elections. The backlash came anyway when voters registered their disapproval of immigration reform, which the President hoped to avoid by delaying action.

Immigration was the big loser in this mid-term election. All Republicans who announced their opposition to the President's proposed immigration executive action were victorious, while pro- immigration reform Democrats, including those who half-heartedly tried to distance themselves from the President's proposed actions, lost. In North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado, Republicans who promised to crack down on illegal immigration unseated Democrats who voted for legalization. Voters in Oregon rejected a referendum that would have granted driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants by a 2:1 margin or more than 67%.

The political landscape has changed dramatically and because of it the President finds himself in an immigration reform quandary created by his own actions or lack thereof. When justifying the immigration reform delay to the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, the President noted he wanted to wait until after the elections "to make sure it's sustainable." Mr. President, there is no such thing as sustainable executive action in a two-party system.

Now the Administration is debating when to act, how to act, and for how many illegal immigrants to act. What's there to think about? They've already decided not to work with the legislature to get a sustainable solution and to act on their own instead. The opponents' outcry, whether one illegal immigrant or 11 million get employment authorization without legislative input will be one and the same. Therefore, if you want to act on your own Mr. President, act now, and announce deferred action and employment authorization for as many undocumented immigrants as you can. What you should not do is break another promise.

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