Tune in at 8 pm (ET) tonight (Thursday, November 20) for President Obama’s address on immigration action.
“Tomorrow night I’m going to be announcing here from the White House some steps I can take to start fixing our broken immigration system,” Obama said in a video posted on Facebook Wednesday afternoon.
Democratic leaders strongly support executive action on immigration. Republicans in Congress strenuously oppose Obama taking any unilateral action.
It’s not clear which groups of undocumented immigrants or how many will benefit from Obama’s executive order. Parents of U.S. citizens are likely to be included. Up to 5 million undocumented immigrants could be granted work permits and be shielded from deportation.
One thing’s certain: executive order alone cannot provide long-term immigration reform.
Although executive action shapes the way existing law is enforced, it does not create new law. It would not provide undocumented immigrants with permanent resident status or a pathway to citizenship, which was proposed in the Senate bill that stalled in the House.
The Obama administration deported a record 438,421 unauthorized immigrants in fiscal year 2013, continuing the trend of increased enforcement that has resulted in more than 2 million deportations since Obama took office. Immigration advocates have dubbed Obama the “deporter in chief,” while Republicans in Congress have not complained about the stepped up enforcement.
Obama may use his executive authority to focus on deporting violent criminals and repeat offenders, instead of undocumented immigrants who pose little threat to the community and have strong family ties in the U.S.
But long-term, comprehensive immigration reform must come through Congress. Executive action by Obama would provide only temporary relief, not a lasting fix.
Watch Obama’s address online at White House Live.
This article provides general information only. Do not consider it as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Each legal case is different and case examples do not constitute a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.