Within the next week, President Obama is expected introduce by executive action a 10-point plan about American immigration policy that will suspend deportation for millions of people. The information was in a government agency draft proposal according to Fox News, which was told of the information by a source close to the White House.
Reaction From The White House
The source indicated that prior to leaving on his trip to Asia that began with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Obama was briefed on the immigration situation by Homeland Security officials. However, his press secretary, Josh Earnest said on Thursday that no final decision had been made about immigration.
In June 2012, Obama established a program that was created for those who arrived as children, with two key points. The person had to have entered before June 2007 and was then under the age of 31. Those approved would be able to obtain Social Security numbers and work permits will be good for two years
What The Action Would Do
The 10 points include such directives as improving border security and increasing the pay of immigration officers. The latter move is attempt to improve the morale of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officer.
The most controversial point deals with what is called “deferred action,” which would allow not only immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, but the parents of American citizens and legal permanent residents. The latter number is estimated to be more than 4.5 million people, but would require that they have lived in the United States for at least 10 years.
The new changes would change the cutoff date to January 1, 2010, and cover anyone who entered before they were 16 years of age. Other actions that are reportedly part of the pending policy include offering a 50 percent discount on the first 10,000 applicants for immigration, unless those people have incomes at 200 percent above the poverty level.
In order to increase the number of qualified technical workers, the plan would add another half million workers to that job market and would also include their spouses.
Obama’s Latino Connections
In June of this year, Obama had told Latino leaders that he would use executive powers to push the issue forward, to counter criticism by some Latinos that he was the “deporter-in-chief.”
In September, Obama upset those leaders by saying that he would not address the issue until after the November elections. That was done in an attempt to help Democratic candidates who were locked in difficult political races and didn’t need the controversy.
However, he did offer political advice to his opponents last month that opposition to immigration could end up destroying the Republican party by causing them to lose an entire generation of immigrant voters. Latinos are the fastest growing immigrant group, and would be the most affected by the pending action.
Obama And Republicans Set To Battle
Last Sunday, Obama said on CBS’s Face the Nation that, “I’m going to do what I can through executive action.” Conservative Republicans have countered that by saying that they would try to strip funding for any executive action during the lame-duck session of Congress that began this past Wednesday.
After last week’s elections that saw Republicans regain control of the Senate and giving them control of both Houses, a number of leading party officials warned Obama not to take this type of action. Speaker of the House John Boehner said, “When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself, and he’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.”
Impeachment A Possibility?
Republican representatives Joe Barton from Texas and Walter Jones from North Carolina each raised the specter of impeachment as a response if Obama goes through with the action, though to remove Obama from office would take two-thirds of the Senate to vote for it. With the topic such a partisan issue, the Republicans would not be able to gain the necessary votes.
Attorney General Confirmation Hearings
With Obama’s attorney general-designate Loretta Lynch set to undergo confirmation hearings, the immigration controversy is expected to be a key part of those hearings. A key part of the questioning is expected to focus on the legality of Obama’s proposed executive actions.
The Long Road Ahead
It is estimated that it would take up to six months for officials from the Obama administration to implement these orders, and that’s even before an expected conflict with Republicans begins. More news will likely be available in the week ahead. If you are concerned about how this might affect you or your family, please contact us or learn more about your options.