Immigration reform has a few obstacles in its path, but a newly proposed “Plan B” involves the president and taking executive action. As long as Congress does not let immigration fall by the wayside within the next few months with potential budget drama, immigration advocates hope that they will have President Obama’s support in passing reform. In the opinion of this author, there are two chances of that happening – slim to none.
President may be pressured to sign executive order
Immigration reformers call this method “Plan B” as it would cause the president to take executive action to prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported. This method is not one that Congress would want to see because it takes away their legislative power, but immigration advocates hope this will finally end the nonstop debates and help undocumented immigrants. This is most likely a pipe dream.
Such a decision would not give immigrants citizenship, but the action could spare them the fear of being deported at any moment. Politically this would divide the parties even more than they already are. However, while this is still considered a last resort in the case that Congress would not be able to reach a compromise, the idea has gained some more supporters as of earlier this month. Republican Senator Marco Rubio mentioned in an interview “I believe that this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, to issue an executive order as he did for the Dream At kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by a sign of a pen,” Rubio said.
Congress urged to move ahead or step aside
Opponents of immigration reform were not in favor of an executive order and consider this as a form of blackmail from the executive branch, however, some believe this is a real possibility if Congress does nothing. “Some people feel like we need to cut our losses, legalize as many people as we can,” Juanita Molina of Humane Borders. A large number of legal experts have endorsed DACA and depending on the extent of broader action, a similar rationale is being assigned to cases of lower-priority status. This only gives undocumented immigrants a temporary reprieve and the ability to work legally but in no way offers permanent residency or citizenship. With heightened fears that nothing will be done about immigration reform, advocates are looking for other alternatives. “Even if [reform legislation] doesn’t go all the way through to be signed by this president … it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least show the American people that we are interested in solving this very serious problem that we have in our country.” The next question is whether the President will consider this move. His official position was to leave it to Congress to reach a solution to the problem, but with months into the debate, the President may reconsider.
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