WASHINGTON, D.C. -

To the frustration of many of his supporters, President Barack Obama is backing away from actions he could take unilaterally on immigration. Instead, he is kicking the issue to House Republicans despite mounting evidence they won't address the millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States.

Lawmakers from both parties declared immigration dead in the water this week after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suffered a primary defeat at the hands of a fellow Republican who criticized him on immigration. But Obama still holds out hope Congress will act.

The approach is drawing fire from impatient immigration advocates who say Obama has sat on his hands long enough. But the White House wants to ensure that if and when the issue ultimately dies, Republicans take the blame.