As soon as polls close, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) would like to remind President Obama, it is technically “after the midterm election.”
Gutiérrez, who has frequently criticized the president on the record number of deportations he has presided over, has scheduled a press conference Wednesday morning in Chicago with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights at which he “will discuss the urgent need for immigration prosecutorial discretion and executive action on the part of the Obama Administration,” according to a statement issued by his office.
In March, the president began a delaying tactic on immigration issues, at first by putting off a Department of Homeland Security review of how deportation practices could be made more humane in order to allow House Republicans to act on a comprehensive immigration reform package.
When it became eminently clear that no immigration legislation was likely to move in Congress, the president threatened to use executive action unilaterally to alter the nation’s immigration policy.
Reportedly at the request of Senate Democrats up for re-election, however, Obama postponed any such action, promising immigration advocates and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he would act on immigration immediately after the midterm election.
The delays infuriated Gutierrez and other advocates, who've warned the White House that each day of inaction would only further alienate Hispanics, who have come out in overwhelming numbers for Obama and the Democrats over the last several election cycles.
On Thursday of last week, Gutierrez cosigned an editorial published in both English and Spanish with House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, and Zoe Lofgren (both D-Calif.) that stated, “President Obama promised to use his authority under existing law to achieve reform. We do not know exactly what the President will do or when he will announce it, but we are confident he will act.”
They also laid out historical precedent, starting with Republican presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, that they believe would give Obama the authority “to make our immigration system better meet the needs of our country and reflect our shared values.”