With Republicans in Congress seemingly blocking his every move, President Barack Obama recently announced that he would be looking to advance his agenda for 2014, including immigration reform, through a series of executive orders.
While the president has several policy goals for the coming year, immigration reform is at or near the top of his list, and it appears that he will be exploring every avenue to move the issue forward regardless of how Congress decides to act. He has already taken several decisive steps to ease the burden on undocumented immigrants, and with this recent announcement it appears the president will continue down that same path in the months to come.
Executive orders to change U.S. immigration system
So far, the president has halted deportations for people who were brought into the U.S. illegally when they were children, who care for children or who haven’t committed a crime. Those sorts of common sense measures have already helped to change the immigration enforcement landscape, and the president will continue to explore other options.
Recently, the president also began allowing some undocumented immigrants who are related to U.S. service members to stay in the country.
Political fallout from executive orders
People on both sides of the immigration issue have criticized the president’s recent spate of executive orders. Advocates for reform argue that he hasn’t gone far enough, while those opposed to it say he has been picking and choosing which laws to enforce. That reaction has left the president in a difficult position where he is forced to engage in a delicate balancing act.
The president explained his process back in 2012, saying, “In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places,” according to the Kansas City Star.