POLITICS
09/05/2014 01:09 pm ET Updated Sep 05, 2014

Obama Won't Say If Deportation Changes Will Be Pushed Until After Election

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama skirted a question on Friday over whether he will push back changes to deportation policy until after the midterm elections, instead promising he will consider it "fairly soon."

Facing pleas from Senate Democrats, in particular, to hold off on making major changes to immigration policy, Obama and the White House have been increasingly vague about a timeframe for the executive action initially promised by the end of the summer.

Obama told reporters in Wales that he has "been pretty busy" this week dealing with foreign policy issues, but that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder have begun to provide him with recommendations for how to change immigration policy without Congress. The president said he'll likely read through some of those proposals on his flight back to the U.S.

"I'll be making an announcement soon," Obama said.

He did give some hints as to what the executive action could entail, including a way to make undocumented immigrants "legal." Advocates argue the administration could create a program to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary relief from deportation that allowed them to work legally.

"In the absence of congressional action, I intend to take action to make sure that we're putting more resources on the border, that we're upgrading how we process these cases, and that we find a way to encourage legal immigration and give people some path so that they can start paying taxes and pay a fine and learn English and be able to not look over their shoulder but be legal, since they've been living here for quite some time," Obama said.

UPDATE: 1:25 p.m. -- Immigration activist group DREAM Act Coalition issued a statement after Obama's remarks asking him to stop the "word games" and enact executive action immediately.

"Voters, specially Latino voters, want to see immediate executive action," Cesar Vargas, co-director of the undocumented youth-led group, said. "This is a promise you cannot break to our families, again. Everyday about 1,100 people are being deported. Families are being ripped apart. It's not a big deal if Democrats side with political survival but they are accepting bad politics by delaying immigration.This year's races will be won by small margins, why not energize a base, including the deciding base, that will help you win by showing voters unwavering leadership that stands up to extremism and obstruction?"

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