Latest media reports sourced to administration officials indicate President Obama has reviewed the menu of options for executive action on immigration, yet may close the flap and opt for another Arnold Palmer and idle chat with tableside donors until the elections pass.

In an appearance in the White House briefing room this week to address events in the middle east, Obama thanked everyone for coming and turned from the podium.  A forgotten reporter shouted out something to the effect of, ‘What about immigration?’  The president returned to the podium and said “[h]ave no doubt, in the absence of Congressional action, I’m going to do what I can to make sure the system works better.”

He then added “[s]ome of these things do affect timelines, and we’re just going to be working through as systematically as possible in order to get this done.”

(Seems rather the reverse is true, that timelines in fact affect these things, or maybe I’m metaphysically challenged.  But whatever.)

The deferred action (DACA) program was announced in mid-June 2012, and applications were accepted within 90 days, many approved prior to the government’s September 30 fiscal year end.  If the fiscal year ‘system’ is the prominent timeline, then it may be more an issue of appropriations, hinting at at sizable set of actions under consideration.

Another timeline that may have entered his thinking is the upcoming mid-term election. If the Houses of Congress remain divided until his second term ends, surely the president will have greater, uh, flexibility, and a wider range of options to effect change by executive order. If the GOP takes the Senate, then Obama will be much more constrained in his ability act.

My guess is that such a risk to establishing a legacy with U.S. immigration is too high to bear and Obama will act within a few weeks, incumbent senators in pink states be darned.  By accepting that risk and delaying action, whether by fiscal or political choice, he would be undermining a Hispanic caucus that will endure as a political force in America far longer than he.  The waitress is back and its time to order, Mr. President.