President Barack Obama announced executive actions he is taking to provide relief and work permits to approximately 3.7 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens. An additional 300,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children would also be covered.
This action by the president has touched off a firestorm on Capitol Hill. Republicans have been warning the administration not to take this type of action and that this is an abuse of executive authority. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said that Obama’s decision to go it alone “cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left.”
To his Congressional critics, the president said, “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.” Key items in the administration’s executive actions:
- Parents – protects from deportation and makes eligible for work permits people who are in the United States illegally but whose children are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
- Children – protects from deportation those minors who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
- Deportation – lower the deportation priority for parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents who have been in the United States for less than five years, and for other immigrants who have been here illegally for more than 10 years.
- Border security – increase resources for enforcement efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border.