Obama on his immigration’s plan: It is a common sense middle- ground approach

What you think about Obama ‘s approach and what impact it may have on US society and politics in your opinion? Read few comments.

Néstor Rodríguez, Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

President Obama stated in his speech an Executive order to prioritize the deportation of felons (criminals) and not families, that is, to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants who have been in the United States for five or more years, especially if they are parents of US-born or legally resident children. With the undocumented children who already have protection from deportation through an earlier Executive order (2012), this will give protection from deportation for about 5 million illegal immigrants. The President is motivated to take this action because, he says, Congress has failed to pass a new comprehensive law to fix the broken immigration system we now have in the country. His Executive order is sure to please and help millions of immigrants (about 5 million), but many (about 6 million) will not be help by his Executive order. It is important to remember that this is an Executive order and not a new law, so it is only a temporary protection (three years) of immigrants who qualify. These immigrants will not be prioritized for deportation, as the priority will be to deport criminals. Many Republican congressional members are angry with the President because they say that this Executive order sounds like a new immigration law, and only Congress can make laws, not the President. I expect that many Republican congressional members will oppose the President in the future.

Darrell WestVice President and Director of Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution

Republicans don’t have good options on Obama’s executive order. They can’t repeal it because many presidents have exercised administrative discretion on immigration. The current law gives the chief executive considerable leeway on who and how many people to deport. Obama is going to say that he is going to focus on high-risk and not low-risk people. Where congressional Republicans have some leeway is on funding the immigration agency. They could pass a bill withholding money from it. But Obama surely will veto that legislation and it is not clear that Congress has the votes to override a presidential veto. I don’t believe Republicans want to close down government over this issue although some of its members will talk about doing that. When all the dust settles, I expect the executive order to stick. Latino voters will be very happy that Obama has taken a lot of political heat on an issue they really care about. This will help Democrats in 2016.

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