While Congress is on summer recess, there is rampant speculation about whether or not President Obama will use executive authority to implement immigration reform. Officials at the White House described reports of President Obama taking executive action to allow millions of undocumented people to remain in the United States as “uninformed speculation”.
Obama has reportedly asked for recommendations concerning immigration reform from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to be presented by the end of summer. The president is considering the current crisis at the U.S. border and comprehensive immigration reform in its entirety.
Impeachment talk could heat up once again if the president chooses to go ahead with an executive action that possibly would suspend the deportation of those undocumented immigrants. Some Republican members of congress assert that Obama would be overstepping his authority if he should take executive action on these latest immigration issues. Obama characterizes his use of executive action as necessary because congress is not willing to work with him to reach a decision on pressing issues.
Congress’s immigration priorities
The recent influx of undocumented immigrants has shed new light on how illegal immigration continues to be a divisive issue within congress as well as between the legislative and executive branches of government. The majority of conservative members of congress would likely favor a course of action that removes all illegal immigrants from the United States and would make it harder for undocumented immigrants to get into the country. Increased border security is another priority among the conservatives in congress and across the country. Many conservative political leaders in the border states adjacent to Mexico contend that they must be allowed to send any undocumented immigrant back across the border once they are found. They contend that their local economies will suffer as a result of undocumented immigrants taking low salary jobs and that criminal activity in their communities will rise as a direct result of undocumented immigrants coming into their states.
The issue of undocumented immigrants
The issue of undocumented immigrants is likely to remain a difficult one to rectify in the near future. Those fleeing economic and political hardship are likely to continue entering the United States if they feel there is even the faintest hope of remaining in the country. The debate continues over whether the undocumented immigrants should be deported or somehow integrated into American society through education, training and indoctrination. This is one of the issues that is sure to be a defining moment for America.
The immigration issue also highlights the friction that remains between many of the Republicans in congress and the president. Republican leaders continue to assert that Obama has gone beyond the presidential powers mandated by the constitution. Conservatives in congress assert that the president has overused his authority in an attempt to get his initiatives enacted into law without the consent of congress. As the immigration issue continues to heat up through the summer, there could be even more incentive for congressional Republicans to move toward impeachment once the members return from their summer break.