What seemed the steadfast resolution of President Obama — executive orders to grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants — rapidly exploded into a risky proposition that could cost Democrats their Majority in the November Midterms.
Senator Angus King warned the White House Chief of Staff that, “Unilateral action by the president might undermine the prospects for bipartisan agreement on a broad immigration overhaul for years to come.”. White House officials said that ultimately prompted the president to renege on the promise he made on June 30 in the Rose Garden to act on his own before summer’s end to fix the immigration system.
With Republicans running attack ads against Democratic senators on the topic of immigration, the endless surge of Central American and Mexican migrants crossing the southern border, and the media driving renewed public worries and anger on the subject, the issue became too toxic for the President and Democratic candidates.
The president claims he must go back and repair the broken consensus that had emerged around the immigration issue. Mr. Obama in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” stated, “The truth of the matter is that the politics did shift midsummer because of that problem”, when asked about the surge of Central American refugees crossing the border.
Mr. Obama has earned outrage from Latinos, who make up one of the Democrats largest constituencies. Already angered by the president’s move during his first term to accelerate deportations, activists have called the delay of promised executive action a betrayal. “There are important segments of the Latino community, particularly Latino immigrant voters, where there’s a sense that the Republicans hate us, and the Democrats like us, but they don’t fully respect us yet — and I think that will have to be overcome going forward.”, said Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, an immigrant-rights group.
Angela M. Kelley, vice president for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress, said Latinos — like an angry girlfriend who has waated their time waiting on a marriage proposal — are going to expect the president to take even more expansive executive action later this year.
“A guy says he’s going to propose, and then he decides he’s going to delay and not propose for a couple of months, so you go, ‘O.K., I want a two-carat ring now instead of a one-carat ring,’ ” Ms. Kelley said. “The cost is high for what he’s done in terms of a delay. He’s asking the community to pay now, and to some extent, he’ll have to pay later.”
Vulnerable Democrats were faced with ads condemning their inaction on the subject of immigration one by one began calling top White House officials to vent their concerns that if Mr. Obama took executive action, it could cost them their seats as well as their party control of the Senate. The White House requested polling data in key Senate races and received numbers from Arkansas and Iowa, where voters overwhelmingly sided with those opposed to the possibility of Mr. Obama taking executive action on immigration.
The steep decline grew largely at least in part from a perception, elevated by the growing number of illegal immigrants, that the southern border was wide open and immigration law was not being enforced there.
In the end this is a lesson learned from 20 years ago for the president and his team.
In the words of one party official it’s an important “object lesson,”, learned from the 1994 crime bill, which President Clinton pushed through before that year’s midterm elections, in which his party lost complete control of the House for the first time in over forty years. Many Democrats, including some who work at the White House, believe the passage of that legislation, including the federal assault weapons ban, doomed a dozen of their candidates and has made the gun control a toxic one for members of their party to this day.