The White House acknowledged Tuesday that President Barack Obama might not fulfill the pledge he made in June to announce exective action on immigration matters before the end of summer.
The White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, confirmed that the time frame is not clearly established, as Obama suggested at a press conference last week when he avoided repeating his promise to act before summer is over.
“It’s hard for me to at least at this point draw any clear conclusions about what the president’s timing will be,” Earnest told reporters at his daily briefing.
“There is the chance that it could be before the end of the summer. There is the chance that it could be after the summer,” he said.
Press accounts suggest the White House is thinking of delaying the announcement of exective action for fear it might harm some Senate Democrats who face tough re-election battles in November.
Earnest did not confirm those reports, but noted that Obama was not “focused” on the political aspects of his decision on immigration.
“What the president is concerned about is doing the best that he can to address as many problems as he can,” the press secretary said when asked whether a delay in Obama’s announcement about immigration will mean a loss of support among Hispanic voters in the mid-term congressional elections.
He recalled that Obama is waiting for Republicans in Congress to do something to reform the immigration system, adding that, though the time frame is now more flexible, the president remains determined to take action himself.
“The president’s determination to act and his commitment to acting has not changed in any way,” Earnest said.
Obama has still not received the recommendations that he requested in June of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder about how to improve certain aspects of the immigration system without the consent of Congress.
The options at Obama’s disposal go from extending the reach of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to increasing the number of green cards that are awarded every year, according to press reports.