The White House is weighing its options for immigration reform, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday night, and one of those options could have staggering implications: protecting from deportation nearly half of the people who are in the U.S. illegally.

How it would work: letting parents of U.S.-born children gain temporary legal status.

Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored breakfast, White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer told reporters that President Barack Obama would likely move on immigration before the end of the summer, and he laid out a few possible scenarios.

According to the LA Times, one of those proposals could shield 5 million illegals immigrants from deportation.

Estimates for the number of people living in the U.S. illegally — people who may have entered the country illegally or may have overstayed a visa — vary widely, from around 11 million to 20 million, but the LA Times published the widely-used 11 million figure — pegging possible presidential protection at 45 percent of the illegal population.

As the LA Times reported:

One option would allow immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens to apply for temporary legal status which would let them work legally in the U.S. Because children born in the country automatically receive U.S. citizenship, that option could affect about 5 million people, researchers estimate.

A second option would be to allow temporary legal status for the parents of young people already granted deportation deferrals by the Obama administration. That would affect a smaller, but still sizable, number of people.

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 14: Supporters of the New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform Campaign rally at Battery Park on July 14, 2014 in New York City. With the Statue of Liberty in the background, dozens of demonstrators called on President Barack Obama to issue executive orders to reduce deportations of immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally, and their children. With the influx of thousands of young and unaccompanied children from Central America in recent months, many fleeing gang violence in their home country, immigration reform has taken on a new urgency in Washington. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Whatever the final plan, Pfeiffer said the proposal will surely “increase the angry reactions from Republicans,” and he “would not discount the possibility” that Republicans would try to impeach Obama over the immigration plan.

Obama has previously promised to take executive action on immigration reform because Republicans won’t “pass a darn bill.”

Featured image via the Associated Press

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