November 21st, 2014 by Romona Paden
Citing a broken immigration system where problems have been allowed to “fester for too long,” President Obama announced a pending executive order that will take “commonsense steps” toward reform. Through a brief one-minute video posted on the White House Facebook page, the president announced he would enact a set of executive orders regarding immigration reforms.
The president will use the executive order on immigration to “fix as much of it as he can,” the White House Facebook page says. Press reports covering the announcement speculate measures could extend amnesty to as many as 5 million undocumented people living in the United States, sparing them from possible deportation.
Besides protection from deportation, the president’s executive order will likely also extend work permit eligibility to millions of undocumented immigrants. The executive action isn’t expected to include a path to citizenship. Additionally, undocumented immigrants who benefit from the action won’t be entitled to federal benefits, which include health care tax credits through the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare.
Among the 5 million immigrants to whom deportation protection will likely be extended are the parents and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents—green card holders—who’ve been in the country for at least five years.
The president is also likely to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was introduced two years ago through another executive order. The parents of immigrants protected under DACA aren’t expected to be granted protections, however.
“What I’m going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system better, even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem,” Obama said in a video on Facebook.
Any executive actions taken by President Obama can be undone by the future president who will be elected in two years.