Rep. Luis Gutierrez voiced some disappointment in President Barack Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration, saying he is “playing it safe.”
The Illinois Democrat said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the decision by the White House announced Saturday might help win an election, but that this non-action by the President is stirring up anger among Latinos and others who support reform.
“It’s clear that playing it safe is what is going on at the White House… walking away from our values and our principles,” the Illinois Democrat said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “Playing it safe might win an election … but it almost never leads to fairness, to justice and to good public policy that you can be proud of.”
Obama announced Saturday he would be delaying any executive action on immigration until after the November midterm elections. He defended his decision, saying the surge of undocumented migrant children that entered the U.S. from Mexico and Central America changed the politics surrounding the issue.
“The truth of the matter is – is that the politics did shift midsummer because of that problem,” Obama said in a taped interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I want to spend some time, even as we’re getting all our ducks in a row for the executive action, I also want to make sure that the public understands why we’re doing this, why it’s the right thing for the American people, why it’s the right thing for the American economy.”
Gutierrez said he and other immigration reform advocates will keep working with the White House and expects a meeting with the administration this week.
“I am going back to the drawing board,” he added.
The Illinois representative said he expects eventual action by Obama, but it does not change the fact that he has yet to act and thousands of people will face deportation between now and November.
“While we wait until November, because that’s the President’s decision, there’s going to be another 60,000 people deport,” Gutierrez said. “There is pain and suffering in the community, and there is a lot of anguish and anger.”