Saturday, July 20, 2024

President Obama Announces Sweeping Immigration Overhaul Through Executive Action


Last night, President Obama unveiled the highly anticipated executive actions he will enact in order to establish an immigration system that is “more fair and more just.”  The steps he will take to keep families together and protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation were the centerpiece of his Thursday night address.

Obama addressed his critics head on during his speech and said, “The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every Democratic president for the past half century.” The president continued, “And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

As a result of the president’s plan, if the parent of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident has been in the U.S. for more than five years and successfully passes a background check, they are eligible to apply for deferred deportation and work permits, thus creating an avenue for millions to “come out of the shadows” of our system. The plan also extends eligibility for the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program. Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security has been instructed to prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

The president concluded his address with a powerful reminder our country’s founding principles and urged Americans to recall that, “We are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forbearers were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like or what our last names are, or how we worship.”