granted lawful status. It also includes the expansion of certain visas to individuals in specialized high tech areas who wish to immigrate to the United States.
Millions of people would be effected from this relief from deportation or removal. Instead of an “amnesty”, the President issued an executive directive to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to focus their efforts on the detention and subsequent removal of undocumented individuals present in the United States who have criminal records or are a danger to the community. According to the directive, families who have lived in the United States, have paid their taxes and have formed ties within their communities should not be the target of detention, removal or deportation. Of the estimated 11 million undocumented individuals present in the United States currently, it is estimated that approximately five million of them would be effected by this change in policy.
President Obama added that his use of executive authority in this area has been “very restrained” and added that the practice of executive action has been used by both Democratic and Republican presidents historically. He further added that throughout the course of his term to date, he has issued far less executive decisions than the majority of presidents past. He contributes the negative reaction of Congress and the Republican constitutions for the focus on his current decision.
It is doubtful that the opposing Republican Party will come to accept or agree with the President’s actions. The current climate of the Republican Party is anger and outrage at the current executive action. Since the President has issued the directive, prominent Republican Party members have spoken out harshly against him personally, accusing him of acting in a manner that is unconstitutional, overreaching and even unlawful. They defend their position by referring to the President’s own comments that his authority to take action on the subject was restricted.
The President maintained that the practice of prosecutorial discretion is commonly employed by federal government agencies and is not a new creation. He further added that if the Republicans could come up with a bill that would address the current immigration crisis, he would be more than happy to pass that bill and reverse his recent directive.