Less than a week before the midterms, Obama backs off deportations of illegal immigrants

In a move that is surely related in no way to the fact that there is a national election next Tuesday which is not looking good for Democratic candidates across the country, President Barack Obama is reportedly considering scaling back deportations of people in the country illegally.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the White House is considering an executive action that could, if broadly interpreted, “offer protection to between one million and four million people in the country illegally.”

Mr. Obama, who has been criticized by immigrant-rights advocates for the delay, wants to grant new protections—such as safe harbor from deportation and work permits—to many people who are in the U.S. illegally but have significant ties to the country, said three people familiar with White House thinking.

Such protections would be temporary since the president lacks authority to give people permanent legal status.

One person said officials are leaning toward granting protections to people in the country illegally for 10 years and who meet other criteria, though that could be broadened to include more recent arrivals.

In entirely unrelated news, Hispanic voters may be warming to the idea of a GOP-controlled Senate. When asked if they thought a Republican Senate would be a good or bad thing in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 30 percent said it would be a welcome development while 15 percent disagreed. A majority, 50 percent, had no opinion on the matter one way or the other.

“This is a demographic, we will remind you, that voted 71-27 for President Obama just two years ago. And only 15 percent are concerned about a GOP-controlled Senate,” The Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson wrote.

She further observed that Hispanic voters more than most are likely to rate the state of the economy as negative. 76 percent of polled Latino voters expressed dissatisfaction with the economy compared to just 24 percent who said they were satisfied with the progress of the recovery. In most surveys, voters rate the economy and jobs among their highest priorities when determining how they vote next Tuesday.

While Hispanics still claim they trust Democrats more than Republicans (44 percent to 27 percent), that trust seems to be soft and ebbing. The president’s failure to make good on his promise to enact some aspects of comprehensive immigration reform via executive fiat before the election has certainly frustrated left-leaning Hispanic voters. Obama’s decision to ease some deportations for illegal immigrants may address some of this bloc’s concerns, but it is unclear if that will be enough to save the Senate for Democrats.