WASHINGTON – With frustration mounting, President Barack Obama sought Thursday to quell doubts he’ll use his presidential powers to act on immigration, telling Hispanics and immigration activists it’s “not a question of if but when.”
At the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual gala, Obama warned activists that his eventual actions will spark intense political opposition that could threaten the durability of what he does. In a partisan pitch a month before Election Day, he urged Hispanics across the U.S. to use their votes to improve prospects in the future for a legislative fix.
“The moment I act – and it will be taking place between the November election and the end of the year – opponents of reform will roll out the same old scare tactics,” Obama said. “When opponents are out there saying who knows what, I’m going to need you to have my back.”
Once hailed as a champion for Hispanic rights, Obama’s relationship with the Hispanic community has become strained since he decided last month to abandon his earlier pledge to act quickly after summer’s end to help some immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.
Instead, he said he’d wait until after the Nov. 4 elections, exasperating immigration activists who accused the president of putting politics ahead of their families.