President Obama Is Moving Forward On Executive Action That Could Halt 5 Million Deportations
President Obama will disregard Republican complaints and sign an executive action that could shield up to five million immigrants from deportation, the New York Times reports. The official announcement would “significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents,” and could be made as early as next week.
The first piece of the order, according to White House officials, will be to protect the parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents from deportation by allowing them to obtain legal work permits. Depending on whether the order is limited to parents who have been undocumented and living in the United States for five years or for ten years, it could affect between 2.5 million and 3.3 million people. The President is reported to be considering a second piece to extend protections to immigrants who came here as children, and to their parents. This could affect up to one million or more additional undocumented immigrants.
The action will also clarify who should be high priority and low priority for deportation, in order to focus enforcement on violent criminals instead of breaking up families. Finally, it will also enhance border security and expand opportunities for immigrants with high-tech skills.
It’s not the comprehensive immigration reform that the Senate passed and the American people support, but it’s a very important step. And it upholds President Obama’s promise last week after the midterms that he won’t “just wait” for Republicans to stop stalling on the issue.
BOTTOM LINE: President Obama’s commitment to move forward with an executive action to halt deportations is an important step toward helping to fix our broken immigration system. But it does not remove the pressure from Congressional Republicans to do what the American people want and pass comprehensive immigration reform.
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