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After saying he would overhaul the nation’s immigration system by the end of summer, President Obama has now decided to delay any action until after the November election.

A White House official confirmed the decision Saturday and said the president still planned to roll out the changes, which have been in the works for several months, before the end of the year.

After efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration bill died in the Republican-led House of Representatives, Obama gave a fiery White House speech in June saying he would instead do it on his own. During that speech, he said, “If Congress won’t do their job, at least we can do ours.”

But the president came under intense pressure from Democrats facing tough re-election battles who feared a stiff Republican backlash come November if the president made his announcement before then. Among their chief concerns was a plan to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, a move largely supported by immigration advocates but reviled as “amnesty” by many Republicans.

The reality the President has had to weigh is that we’re in the midst of the political season, 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,” a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the decision, said in a statement. “Because he wants to do this in a way that’s sustainable, the President will take action on immigration before the end of the year.”

Saturday’s announcement was immediately blasted by immigration groups that have been pressing the White House to “go big.” Officials at the Service Employees International Union, one of the strongest supporters of changing the immigration system, said they were “deeply disappointed but not paralyzed.” Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org, a group that supports legalizing undocumented immigrants, called the delay “shameful.”

“The president’s latest broken promise is another slap in the face of the Latino and immigrant community,” said Cristina Jimenez, managing director for United We Dream, a group of young undocumented immigrants pushing for an end to deportations.

“Where we have demanded leadership and courage from both Democrats and the president, we’ve received nothing but broken promises and a lack of a political backbone. To wait nine more weeks means the president has agreed to deport more than 70,000 people, more than 1,100 every day, and continues cementing his legacy as the deporter-in-chief.”

The rush of Central American children across the nation’s southwest border came at a difficult time for the White House. As Obama requested $ 3.7 billion from Congress to deal with the wave, a request that Congress has not yet acted on, the rush highlighted the nation’s porous border and kept the gaps in the immigration system in the headlines throughout the summer.

Adding to Obama’s problems were complaints from vulnerable Democrats in the upcoming elections.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which opposes legalizing undocumented immigrants, said any executive action would have hurt Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and others. All of them had made statements in recent weeks urging caution and saying Congress should be the one changing the nation’s immigration system.

Doing something before the election, Krikorian said, would have been “Christmas in September” for their Republican opponents.

“I think that significantly limited his political maneuvering,” he said. “Political commonsense prevailed at the White House.”

Obama made the decision Friday as he returned from a NATO summit in Wales, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the decision. White House officials said Obama made several calls to allies from Air Force One and continued making those calls Saturday morning.

Contributing: Erin Kelly in McLean, Va.

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