POLITICS
09/07/2014 10:52 am ET Updated Sep 08, 2014

Democratic Rep: Latinos Are Frustrated With Obama, But 'Pissed' At GOP On Immigration

WASHINGTON -- Frustration with President Barack Obama for delaying executive action on immigration doesn't overshadow Latinos' anger at Republicans for blocking a vote on the issue, Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley.

"We all are frustrated with him right now, because he's taken way too long to take his executive actions," Cárdenas said of Obama. "But unfortunately, Candy, it's really been the disgusting do-nothing Congress that actually forced his hand to have to even contemplate taking executive action. So I think the first blame is with Congress, not doing its job."

"When it comes to the Latino community, they're frustrated with the president but I think they're really pissed off with the Republican party and what they represent," he added later.

The White House announced on Saturday that the president's plan for executive action on immigration, first promised by the end of the summer, would be put off until after the election. Administration officials argued that doing so could prevent further damage to immigration reform's future prospects, and Obama defended the decision on NBC's "Meet the Press" in an interview that aired on Sunday.

The president said the delay was not simply due to pleas from Democrats who feared they could lose control of the Senate, and that the administration still planned to take action once it could get its "ducks in a row."

"I'm going to act because it's the right thing for the country,” Obama said on "Meet the Press." "But it's going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration, what we've done on unaccompanied children, and why it's necessary.”

Despite the president's political arguments for delaying the action, immigration activists were outraged by Obama's decision to once again break a self-imposed deadline for action. Thousands of people who might receive relief under a new policy could be deported in the coming weeks as the president delays, they argued.

Cárdenas said he and the rest of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which had urged deportation relief, had hoped Obama would act this summer. He said that "of course there's some politics going on" and he was frustrated by that, but maintained that much of the blame remains on House Republicans.

"It's really Congress that isn't doing its job," he said. "In any environment, a work environment or at home, if somebody isn't doing their chores, if somebody isn't doing their part, we shouldn't be too upset with the person who is having to pick up after the other person and do their job as well."

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) argued on "Fox News Sunday" that delaying executive action would not necessarily help red-state Democrats, because they already voted in support of comprehensive immigration reform, which has been the focus of most GOP attacks.

"I'm deeply disappointed that the president hasn't acted where House Republicans have failed to act," Menendez said. "This was sent over to them over a year ago with a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate. But look, Republicans are on the wrong side of the inevitable tide of history here."

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the White House and Democratic operatives were playing it safe and "walking away from our values and our principles." He said he would continue to push for action sooner to prevent more deportations of people with longstanding ties to the U.S.

"Playing it safe might win an election, sometimes you lose an election playing it safe also," he said. "But it almost never leads to fairness, justice, and to good public policy you can be proud of."

This article has been updated to include remarks from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).

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