Millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States will soon be granted some legal protection by President Barack Obama as soon as this week, although they will not receive one important benefit: health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Obama is reportedly preparing to use an executive order to give work permits to up to five million people who are in the United States illegally while shielding them from deportation. An official said this week that these immigrants would not be eligible for subsidized, low-cost healthcare plans from Healthcare.gov, the New York Times reported.
While Obama has not yet announced any details of his plan, the immigrants will likely be treated the same as the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and were under a similar executive order two years ago.
Obama plans to be in Las Vegas on Friday as he and his aides put together details of the new executive orders. The city was the site of a major immigration speech he made in January 2013, USA Today reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Josh Earnest” author_title=”White House spokesman”]
The President is nearing a final decision on this.
Republicans, who will take control of the Senate next year, have attacked the proposed order as an abuse of authority, with Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, calling the president “Emperor Obama.”
While Republicans call Obama’s use of an executive order abuse of authority on the subject, two presidents have already acted unilaterally on immigration, and both were Republican. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush both extended amnesty to family members not covered by overhaul to immigration law in 1986, and neither faced the uproar that is expected when Obama uses his executive authority, ABC News reported.
Obama has said there are limits to what he can do with executive authority. The immigrants included under the action will not be granted full legal status, and the decision to deny health care benefits will fall short of the type of full membership in society that activists have fought for. Obama has urged Congress to pass more comprehensive overhaul of immigration law to give immigrants a path to citizenship.