Louisville, KY-President Obama has been saying for months he would use his executive powers to help immigrants if Congress refused to take any action. Well, Congress has taken no action so Obama is planning to introduce a number of actions this fall.
There are no confirmations, only speculations, on which immigration orders the president plans to introduce, but they he said they would be significant changes. He is anticipated to introduce his immigration actions before the mid-term elections in November.
Some details of his anticipated orders have leaked via individuals involved in talks between the president, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and immigration activists. Individuals in the talks told the Associated Press, Obama’s proposals might include, expanding deportation relief and granting work permits to a wider pool of undocumented immigrants, and perhaps expanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
So far, nearly half a million undocumented youths have been granted and, according to the Associate Press, activist would like the president to expand DACA to include any immigrant would be eligible for citizenship under the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill. That would mean granting deportation relief to nearly 9 million immigrants. That’s too ambitious and, in reality, not likely to happen as Obama previously warned activists “to right-size” their expectations.
There is some speculation that one of Obama’s actions could possibly include allowing some undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. to apply for green cards without being required to leave the country for 10 years.
Executive actions may help immigrants in the short-term, but not so much in the long-term. Most of the president’s immigration actions have been through prosecutorial discretion and not any real changes to immigration laws. Any deportation relief or green cards issued under these actions are temporary. These executive orders essentially come to an end once Obama is out of office, unless his predecessor decides to reissue them or immigration reform is passed.
Any executive actions will undoubtedly further anger Republican and compel them to pursue Speaker Boehner’s Obamacare lawsuit against the president, which law experts told Politico has shaky legal standing. Or, continue their push for impeachment, which experts also say has little legal standing.
Being an undocumented immigrant is difficult, you live under the constant threat of deportation, cannot legally obtain driver’s licenses in most states and cannot legally have jobs so they are often relegated to low-income, under-the-table occupations. All of these things are possible with legal immigration even if an immigrant entered the U.S. illegally.
Waiting for lawmakers to pass immigration reform or thinking executive orders are the answer the problem is unwise. Congress can’t agree on anything and executive orders only last as long as Immigration attorneys, activists and many lawmakers agree immigration reform is necessary, but waiting until then to do anything your immigration status is not necessary.
Some undocumented immigrants have options to gain legal status, but that all depends on your individual circumstances. By contacting an immigration attorney, you can discuss your options for obtaining legal status and what steps you must take to reach that goal.