President Barack Obama will reportedly ignore protests and announce in the next week a plan to overhaul the country’s immigration enforcement system that will save up to 5 million unauthorized immigrants from deportation and give many work permits.
Obama intends to sign an executive order that will refocus the actions of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents, the New York Times reported. The order would allow many parents with children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents.
This part of the plan will affect about 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States for at least five years. The White House is also considering another policy that would limit benefits to individuals who have been in the United States for at least ten years, which is about 2.5 million people.
Such a move would certainly set the stage for a showdown with Republicans, who have repeatedly blocked the efforts of Democrats in Congress to reform immigration and who have warned the president not to take unilateral action, Reuters reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– John Boehner” author_title=”House Speaker”]
We’re going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path. This is the wrong way to govern.
Obama and many Democratic lawmakers view the action as the only method for improving the immigration system short of legislation, which has stalled. Republicans will also have to decide how hard they will fight the president on the matter.
Republicans have historically low support from Hispanic voters, especially in presidential election years, and failing to offer a reasonable form of immigration reform will likely harm the party’s standing with Hispanic voters even further, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Other White House immigration orders are also expected, including benefits for businesses that employ a large number of legal immigrants, as well as “recapturing” unused visas from previous years to make more available.
Immigration enforcement policies are also expected to be changed. For example, traffic violations would not longer make someone a priority for deportation. Recent border crossers, who account for the majority of immigrants deported as well as individuals with serious criminal convictions and those who represent a threat to national security would remain priorities for deportation.