Obama announces a major overhaul of the US immigration system
President Barack Obama announced a series of executive actions last night that’re intended to overhaul the immigration system in the United States. The actions will protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and allow them to acquire permits to work in the United States, but will not grant them any form of citizenship or provide them with government health insurance.
“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,” said President Obama, as quoted by The New York Times. “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.”
“Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I’m describing is accountability, a common-sense, middle-ground approach,” said the president, as quoted by USA Today. “If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the US illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.”
Around five million of the nation’s estimated 11.2 million illegal immigrants will be directly affected by the president’s executive actions. Under the new plan, illegal immigrants that have lived in the United States for at least five years and don’t have a criminal record will be granted the ability to apply for work permits.