President Obama Dares Congress to Reshape Immigration System
In an intelligently confrontational address, President Obama declared his frustration with congressional gridlock regarding immigration reform, and his desire to turn ideas into reality in his last years of presidency.
Mr. Obama also intends to emphasize the division between both parties on the issue of immigration at a campaign rally at a high school in Las Vegas, where Hispanics are proving to be a powerful and rising voting bloc. The visit is part of a White House strategy to convince Americans that his actions are indeed legal and right. Meanwhile, Republicans are swiftly devising ways work against President Obama’s efforts and exercise their new authority. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, a House majority leader, called President Obama’s address a “brazen power grab,” and promised a struggle when the Republicans take control of Congress next year.
Further, the highlight of President Obama’s announcement is the creation of a program for unauthorized immigrants who are the parents of U.S. Citizens. Approximately four million people will be eligible for new legal status, which defers deportations and allows them to seek employment legally. They are required to pass background checks and pay taxes, but they will also receive Social Security cards. Also, an additional one million people will have protection from deportation through other parts of President Obama’s plan.
Mr. Obama’s actions will also end arrests of immigrants for minor offenses, like traffic violations. And, local police will no longer be able to detain immigrants without papers.
As more than five million undocumented immigrants rejoice, the reprieve may be short lived, as the fate of their lives and families depends on how Republicans choose to proceed in their opposition of the president’s new regulation. As a result, the address could set the tone of the 2016 president campaign.