President Obama has liberated the GOP from passing an immigration bill
The conventional wisdom is that President Obama has put the GOP in a no-win situation over immigration reform. In other words, pass a bill or you will be labeled anti-immigrant. See The New Republic's position:
I disagree with that conclusion. The GOP will react by challenging President Obama in the courts, and that's the right approach.
The politics of this will eventually play against President Obama, or exactly the reason that Democrats did not want to talk immigration during the campaign.
What if President Obama had given a different speech?
What if he had delayed his decision and called on the new Congress to take a serious look at immigration? The answer is that he would have put the ball on the GOP's court and put all of the pressure on Capitol Hill.
President Obama would have looked conciliatory and like a man who understood the election results. Everybody in the media would be asking Speaker Boehner and the GOP about immigration.
By acting, President Obama has made everything about his judgment. If he had passed the ball to Congress, on the other hand, he would have put the focus on the economic and humanitarian angles of this issue.