U.S. President Barack Obama has decided to delay taking action on immigration reform until after November congressional elections because the issue had become a threat to his fellow Democrats, a White House official said on Saturday.
Obama had promised in June to announce his decision by the end of summer, but Democrats worried that any executive actions taken without congressional approval could hurt them in November as they struggle to retain control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans already control the House of Representatives.
"The reality the president has had to weigh is that we're in the midst of the political season," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"And because of the Republicans' extreme politicization of this issue, the president believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to announce administrative action before the elections," the official said.
The president will take action on immigration before the end of the year, the official said.
Obama has made it clear he wants to do what he can to improve the immigration system after Congress failed to agree on a package of reforms to fix longstanding issues.
Speaking on Friday at a NATO summit in Wales, Obama said he has received some recommendations from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder on his options.
The prospect of delays has upset the country's large Hispanic community, which wants to see measures that remove the fear of deportation for many of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.