President Barack Obama is inching closer to using executive action to deal with the nation’s immigration crisis. According to a recent article by NPR, the president has two viable options: deferred action and granting parole to undocumented immigrants.
President Obama took executive action in 2012 when he signed the DREAM Act into law. It deferred deportations for young people who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented children and never became citizens. NPR stated that the reason President Obama deferred deportations for undocumented children two years ago was because of Congress’ inability to pass immigration reform or funds to deal with the children who were arriving at the border.
According to NPR, President Obama told the media he is ready to take his own measures to address the immigration crisis.
“I promise you the American people don’t want me just standing around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Congress to get something done,” he said at a press conference.
One of President Obama’s possible options includes deferring deportations for the millions of undocumented immigrants who have arrived at the U.S. border. There have already been 600,000 people who were able to take advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was enacted in 2013. In order to reach additional undocumented immigrants, President Obama could expand the program, which would help keep families together, according to NPR.
President Obama’s second option for acting on the immigration crisis is granting parole to the undocumented immigrants. This is referred to as “parole in place,” and doesn’t require immigrants to be sent back to their home countries to undergo processing at a U.S. consulate.
This option would be more beneficial to spouses of American citizens who are currently required to leave the U.S. for as long as 10 years before being allowed to re-enter.
There are limits to President Obama’s executive authority. NPR stated that he cannot issue green cards and citizenship, but he can provide temporary relief from deportations for those who currently live in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants.
Many immigrant activist organizations across the country have started a campaign called #GoBigObama encouraging him to use executive action to address immigration.