President Barack Obama will announce on Thursday his long-awaited executive actions on immigration that will expand relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants, according to a video released by the White House on Wednesday.
Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken, the president says in the video. Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long, and so what Im going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system work better even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem.
The president will make the official announcement at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night via the White House website. It will be followed by an event at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas on Friday where the president is expected to rally support. The high school is the same place where Obama gave a major immigration reform speech in January 2013.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, whose department made recommendations to Obama on what actions he can take on immigration, confirmed Wednesday that Obama will make his announcement in the coming day.
Ill say one thing about executive actions: I do not, I will not get out ahead of the president and the announcement that he will make in the coming days, Johnson said speaking at a National Press Club event, according to MSNBC.
Obamas immigration plan could include protecting up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allowing them to apply for work permits. Its almost certain that parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents will qualify for relief. Whats unclear is whether or not the parents of Dreamers many of whom are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will also qualify.
Shortly after news broke that Obama is planning to announce his long-awaited executive actions, Republicans voiced their opposition.
Among them were Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security. They sent a letter to Obama, demanding that he abandon his plan for executive action.
Instead of proceeding with ill-advised executive action, we implore you to work with Congress to enact legislation to address our broken immigration system, they wrote in the letter to Obama. We strongly urge you to respect the Constitution and abandon any unconstitutional, unilateral executive actions on immigration.
Meanwhile, immigration advocates celebrated the news and called on supporters to get ready to voice how the presidents actions will transform the lives of millions of people through a new campaign called OurHome.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) also celebrated the news and pressed Obama to go big. He joined a group of farm, food and commercial workers at a Thanksgiving feast near the White House on Wednesday as a way to remind Americans of the workers behind the Thanksgiving meal. They also called on Obama to deliver the most inclusive changes to immigration policy possible via executive action.
It makes no sense to exclude them from relief, Gutierrez said about workers.