As soon as next week, President Obama could use executive action to push through a sweeping reform to the nation’s immigration laws that would bypass protesting Republicans and help keep as many as five million immigrants from being deported.
According to a Nov. 13 New York Times article, one of the key parts of President Obama’s planned immigration enforcement system would allow many immigrant parents of American citizens to legally obtain work documentation without fear of being deported and separated from their families.
Just that part of the new immigration laws alone would impact up to 3.3 million people who have been illegally living in the country for five years or more.
Other groups of people who could possibly be affected in the federal immigration law include immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for 10 or more years; undocumented immigrants who have lived in the country since they were children; and farm workers who enter the country illegally to work, the New York Times reports.
President Obama also hopes to make visas more easily accessible to high-tech workers from abroad, and to relocate the bulk of immigration enforcement from the country’s interior to its borders, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The biggest uncertainty to the law’s implementation is timing, as the White House has yet to decide whether it should act immediately or wait until around mid-December. President Obama has promised to take action on the immigration laws before the end of the year.
Currently, an immigrant can’t work in the U.S. unless he or she has become a citizen — a lengthy process, especially with naturalization involving impediments. Immigration lawyers and policy-makers have been pushing for a reform for some time now, but opposition from conservatives on Capitol Hill has thus far impeded those efforts.
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