Currently in the U.S., immigration has become an issue in the forefront of all U.S. politicians and especially President Obama. Recently, news has been released that Obama alongside with senior White House staff are planning to execute a broad expansion of immigrant rights which would be put into place by executive action. It is rumored that this executive action could take place as soon as the next few weeks. Officials noted that Obama’s decision would essentially protect very large numbers of immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. illegally – a decision that has been widely supported by advocacy groups.
Approximately 4 to 5 million of the total 11 million individuals who entered the country illegally and/or overstayed their visas would be protected under the option the White House is considering, according to anonymous sources.Obama has publicly made it clear that due to the slow support of conservatives for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) that he would employ executive action to make major changes to the current immigration system in place.
These actions are estimated to become public by the end of the month, stated White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer although other officials are hoping to postpone major changes until after the upcoming mid-term election.
The Possible GOP Reaction
If these predicted actions occur, it is very likely that there will be a major political conflict with congressional Republicans. There is a portion of White House officials who seemed to think that this may cause the GOP to act in a way that is “politically self-destructive”. It is safe to assume that these actions would cause a definite increase in the amount of angry reactions from Republican officials. Earlier this year, it was noted that GOP is losing support from U.S. Hispanic community.
GOP Efforts to Impeach Obama
It is possible that Republicans may seek to impeach President Obama over his upcoming decisions regarding changes in U.S. immigration. This would not be the first time this year that rumors of impeachment efforts have surfaced. House Speaker John A. Boehner‘s (R-Ohio) plans to sue Obama for allegedly overstepping his executive authority arguably laid a foundation for impeachment efforts fueled by the efforts of Republicans. However, Boehner’s efforts to sue the President have also been interpreted as an alternate method for Republicans to “strike back”.
“I would not discount the possibility” that Republicans would seek to impeach Obama over his next immigration moves, he said, adding that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) had “opened the door to impeachment” by his plans to sue Obama for allegedly exceeding his executive authority.
Obama’s Executive Powers and Deportation
Although it is unclear at this point what the new White House initiatives would do, it is safe to assume they could have a range of effects from seeping up deportations in some cases but stalling them in others. It is possible that Obama may use these executive powers in hopes of expediting deportations as a response to the current crisis at the U.S. border.
Obama’s use of executive powers will most likely focus on deportation for the large numbers gathered at the U.S. border while hoping to prevent deportation of those already living in the U.S. who are currently working and raising children.
Temporary Legal Status for Parents of U.S. Citizens
One possible course of action the White House may take could be to allow parents of U.S. citizens to apply for a temporary legal status which would permit them to hold a legal status and be able to work in the U.S. This option would potentially affect approximately 5 million individuals.
An alternative option would be to permit a temporary legal status to the parents of non-adults who have previously received a deportation deferral from the Obama administration. This option would effect less individuals, however still a significant number.
Leading Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, already have called for ending the deferred action program, and any move to expand it by including parents would be certain to draw a furious response from conservatives.
The Population at the Border Crisis
Although not exact, estimates state that over 55,000 minors, primarily hailing from Central America have crossed into the U.S. from Mexico without their parents since last October.Obama has clearly stated that children who do not have “proper claims” for admission to the U.S. will be required to return to their homes. However did not ignore the need to address poverty and violence in Central America.
“The American people and my administration have great compassion for these children,” Obama told stated Obama, supported by Presidents of other Nations. “But I also emphasized to my friends that we have to deter a continuing influx of children putting themselves at risk.”
How to Pay for a Humanitarian Crisis
The battle over financing aid for the humanitarian crisis continues in Washington, D.C. In recent weeks, lack of congressional support made it clear that the GOP opposes Obama’s border crisis plan. They rejected the initial request for $3.7 billion to fund an increase in working deportation courts, increase border security and provide care for children and young people who have already arrived. The GOP returned a plan which calls for $1 billion in total, far less than what Obama originally asked for. Democrats have countered with an offer for $2.7 billion. However, neither plan is expected to gain support in both chambers.
A Crucial Time in U.S. Immigration
Congress is nearing its summer recess and a resolution has not been reached in how to deal with this humanitarian crisis. It is a crucial time in U.S. immigration as Obama may potentially employ the use of executive order. Hopefully, the coming weeks will bring about change to help manage the crisis at the U.S. border while also helping comprehensive immigration reform.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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