President Obama finally did what he said he would do. He gave about five million unauthorized migrants a chance to stay in the U.S.
The executive order is good news for some immigrants. It also set off a political firestorm.
What is in the order?
The order covers the undocumented parents of children who are American citizens or who are here legally.
The parent must:
- be in the U.S. more than five years,
- register with the government,
- pass a criminal background check,
- pay taxes.
Another part of the order adds young people to the program whose unauthorized parents brought them here between 2007 and 2010.
The president said, “You will be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation.”
Millions will get work permits. None of those covered will be eligible for subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). They will not be able to get Medicaid. They will get social security cards.
Permission to stay is good for three years. They will have to go to the back of the line to apply for citizenship.
The order will make life easier for immigrants who are skilled workers to change jobs.
What will be the political response?
The cries from opponents of the order will range from:
- calls for impeachment (putting the president on trial in the Senate);
- going to the courts to stop the president,
- cutting off funding for enforcement of the order in a budget resolution,
- shutting down the government because the president would not sign the budget resolution,
- holding up presidential appointments (e.g., a new attorney-general),
- name calling on the Internet, television and the press.
It will take some time to put the new rules in effect. Republicans take over the Congress on January 1, 2015. They will have the power to make life very hard for the president.
Many supporters of reform do not agree that the executive order was the right way to go. They hoped the changes would be made by law. Many do not believe that the order goes far enough.
Many feel the program will not deter people in the future from trying to get over the border. In fact, it might encourage people to come here.
Source: USA Today November 21, 2014