Forum

Obama must stop stalling real immigration reform

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Campaigning takes up a lot of political officials’ time and money. Maybe it takes up too much. The process of re-election appears to be the main focus of political officials to the extent that they will strategically choose to avoid making any major decisions.

On Sept. 6, President Barack Obama announced that he plans to put off action on immigration issues until after the midterm elections, claiming that the decision was the result of this summer’s surge of undocumented children crossing the United States border from Mexico. However, Obama’s decision appears to be more of a response to Democrats in tough Senate races, who were concerned that taking action on immigration would affect their campaigns.

Before Obama’s address, action was expected to take place on immigration by the end of the summer to reduce the number of deportations and possibly to offer work permits to people living in the United States illegally.

Obama promised that he would act by the end of the summer to address the many problems of the immigration system. Now, White House officials claim that Obama will act by the end of the year. What does this mean for the hundreds of families who fear deportation and the separation of their families?

President Obama broke a promise to immigrants, their families, and their allies. Obama raised the hopes of many when he promised to take up comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in office. Six years later, many families are having to live with the fear of deportation as a result of Obama’s delay until after the November elections. In addition, the administration’s deportation numbers beat all previous records, with Obama deporting more than two million immigrants in his almost eight-year tenure. As a result, advocates for immigration reform have commonly referred to Obama as “deporter-in-chief.”

This is very unfortunate because it shows how difficult it is to take action in the United States’ political system. One flaw of the system is the frequency of elections. Political officials spend more time focusing on getting re-elected than taking action, especially regarding controversial issues. Making major decisions is simply not something political officials will do during campaign season.

Recently, Senate Democrats running in conservative states have not had the best of luck, as GOP opponents use the subject of immigration to attack their campaigns. To activist groups, such as America’s Voice, Obama’s decision to stall action was an obvious political move and a blunder.

Having waited for months for Obama to take action on the issue, disappointed immigrants and their allies are now forced to wait longer. President Obama must stop making false promises and fulfill the hopes he once raised for significant immigration reform.