Last Thursday, after a long awaited period to know what his plans are President Barack Obama announced his plans regarding his executive action on the immigration policy in our country. Promising to shield as many as 5 million immigrants from deportation while granting work permits to others, could President Obama’s executive action actually aid the millions of immigrants from peril or could they be voided if his opponents say otherwise.
According to the White House, the president’s plan focuses on three main priorities regarding immigration: boosting security at the border security, focusing the handling of deportation resources when dealing felons and threats that may be present over families, and giving millions of people with illegal status the chance to apply for deferred action status. The deferred action status would grant the applier three years of protection from deportation along with the ability to receive working papers to work legally in the United States.
The plan will also see to the expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Children Arrivals. The program allowed children who were brought into the country before January 1st, 2010 the opportunity to gain protection from deportation which was an estimated 270,000.
While it’s good to hear there are some plans out there regarding immigration, the president’s plans lack something many pro-immigration reformers were hoping for. The plans do not include access to health insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Act for immigrants nor does it include path to citizenship.
During his primetime announcement when he addressed the nation, the president noted that the immigration system within our country has been broken. According to the president, it has been broken for decades and “haven’t done much about it.”
In-addition to mentioning how the country has failed the American people and immigrants, the president was not shy when it came to directly challenging his opponents within the congress.
“The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every Democratic president for the past half century,” the president said, he also added, “And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”
Not wanting to risk disapproval back in August and thus lose any ground before elections, the president postponed announcing his details regarding his executive action on immigration until after the elections. However, with the November Elections come and gone, and the democrats losing a great deal of support it appears the dysfunction within the congress is set to implode now that the president and his democratic supporters no longer have anything to lose.
Making it clear that he intends to fight back against anyone who challenges his authority, the president also pre-preemptively responded to any reaction the GOP would have.
“Don’t let a disagreement over a single issue be a dealbreaker on every issue. That’s not how our democracy works, and Congress certainly shouldn’t shut down our government again just because we disagree on this.”
After meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and consulting with Democratic leaders on the Hill prior to the announcement, the president is said to have reviewed their recommendations and made the decisions that he did.
So what do his opponents have to say?
Well, according to the GOP they are accusing the president for granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants. But the president sees it otherwise.
According to the president in-regards to the GOP claims, “amnesty is the immigration system we have today – millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.”
Republicans have also gone out and are preparing legal action in order to strike back at the president. While there are members of the GOP who do not want the president’s plan to go through, some are nervous about the party’s reaction because they want to maintain trust with some of the Latino voters they do have.
With the details now out, and a party planning to confront them, it will be interesting to see whether or not immigrants will finally get to breathe easily or will simply go ignored again as two parties battle it out.