President Barack Obama is poised to announce a plan that would protect up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation, the New York Times is reporting:
One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.
That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.
Extending protections to more undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, and to their parents, could affect an additional one million or more if they are included in the final plan that the president announces.
Mr. Obama’s actions will also expand opportunities for immigrants who have high-tech skills, shift extra security resources to the nation’s southern border, revamp a controversial immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities, and provide clearer guidance to the agencies that enforce immigration laws about who should be a low priority for deportation, especially those with strong family ties and no serious criminal history.
A new enforcement memorandum, which will direct the actions of Border Patrol agents and judges at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and other federal law enforcement and judicial agencies, will make clear that deportations should still proceed for convicted criminals, foreigners who pose national security risks and recent border crossers, officials said.
Obama had vowed to take executive action on immigration reform by the end of the year, while imploring Congress to act as well. Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Republican leader Mitch McConnell warned that unilateral action taken by Obama would seriously undermine his relationship with the new GOP-led Congress.
“Working together requires trust,” McConnell, who will become the new majority leader when the GOP assumes control of the Senate in January, said Wednesday. “I think President Obama has the duty to help build the trust we all need to move forward together, not to double down on old ways of doing business.”