WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama vowed to take steps by executive order to implement some measures for immigration reform that Congress has been unable to move forward.
Congress left Washington at the end of July after House Republicans failed to muster enough votes within their caucus for a bill pushed by Republican leaders to address the tens of thousands of children from Central America crossing the southern U.S. border. Congress is not expected to return to Washington until after Labor Day. (See July e-News for more background.)
Senate Bill is a Framework
A frustrated President Obama began immediately to meet with his cabinet, White House staff and immigration reform advocates to outline a program of executive actions he could take to implement some aspects of comprehensive immigration reform. Insiders report that the White House is looking at the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in a bipartisan vote over a year ago as a framework.
Focus on 11.5 Million Undocumented
A focus of the White House is the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants now in the country. The President could order that enforcement action and deportations for some portion of these immigrants be deferred.
Several approaches or some combination of these are are being discussed:
Deferring action on the approximately 9 million undocumented who would have been eligible for citizenship under the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the senate last June.
Allowing parents with children who are citizens to remain in the country, estimated to number 3.9 million.
Issuing green cards to several hundred thousand of those who would be eligible for green cards if they didn't have to leave the country for three or ten years before reapplying. The federal government may waive these requirements under current law if an applicant demonstrates they would impose extreme hardship.
An announcement of the White House plan is expected in late August before Congress returns.