Immigration orgs ask Obama for time

A growing chorus of immigration groups is sending the same message to President Barack Obama: No executive action until August at the earliest, to allow Congress time to act.

The coalition of influential advocacy organizations — spanning from religious groups to labor — issued a statement Tuesday that urged the House Republican leadership to act on immigration during a “real window of opportunity” from now until August. During that time, Obama should hold off on announcing any changes to how his administration enforces immigration laws, the groups said.

“For the good of the country, we urge Speaker Boehner and his colleagues to seize this moment,” the groups said in the joint statement, referring to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “After so many promises, inaction now would be more than a lost opportunity; it would be a moral and economic loss.

(CARTOONS: Matt Wuerker on immigration)

“During this interim, we strongly urge President Obama and his administration to allow for this process to take place before issuing administrative action,” the advocates continued. “We believe the president should move cautiously and give the House leadership all of the space they may need to bring legislation to the floor for a vote.”

The groups issuing the statement included the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, National Immigration Forum, Service Employees International Union, Sojourners, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration.

For months, immigration groups have focused on two targets: the Republican-led House, which has yet to put reform bills for a vote on the floor, and the president, who advocates believe has some discretion to tweak immigration enforcement that would effectively slow down the rate of deportations.

(Also on POLITICO: Harry Reid: President Obama may have to act on immigration)

But key Senate Democrats urged immigration advocates at a strategy session last week to hold their fire against the White House and instead focus on House Republicans to urge them to enact an immigration overhaul this year.

Still, some advocates argue that they can put the pressure on House Republicans as well as on the administration at the same time. And other activists have lost hope in Congress altogether and are solely focused on the White House to relieve the deportations, which have become a sore spot between Obama and immigrant rights activists.

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Immigration orgs ask Obama for time
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