Nearly five million people living illegally in the United States will be able to avoid deportation under reforms on immigration policy declared by US President Barack Obama this week. According to the president’s announcement, unregistered parents of American citizens will be granted legal residency as well as the ability to work in the US for three years. This move will affect parents who have lived in the United States for at least five years–an estimated 4.4 million people–although it will not permit them US citizenship.
In a televised speech, Obama invited illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows and receive legal rights. The move was immediately challenged by Republicans, who alleged that taking such step without congressional endorsement exceeded the presidential authority.
Speaker John Boehner warned that Obama would exceed his powers if he went ahead with his plans on immigration, and Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) said the measures would aggravate the problem of illegal immigration in the US.
US president also vowed to take resolute action to combat illegal immigration at the border. He emphasized the necessity to check undocumented migrants for criminality, and to make sure migrants payed taxes. He stated that deportations would focus on criminals, not families or kids, gang members and not mothers who were trying to help their children.
Obama Said, “If you are a criminal, you will be deported. If you are planning to enter the United States illegally, opportunities to catch you and deportations back to your country have increased.”
A top official in US Administration pointed that the plan reflects the recommendations of the Internal Security Minister and Justice Minister on what the president could do under current US laws. Obama had vowed for months to take action on immigration after Congress hampered his comprehensive immigration in 2013. The bill passed the Senate but died in the House.
There are currently about 11 million undocumented illegal immigrants residing in the United States. Obama commented on this group, saying that trying to deport all 11 million was not realistic. The president commented on the struggle of the illegals to avoid deportation.
“I’ve seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn’t have the right papers,” said Obama.
The president said that he would sign the bill, however, to ensure a compromise on the contentious issue of immigration. Obama addressed his detractors by stating, “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.”
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