As the debate on illegal immigrants grows with every child and person who crosses the border, the president and his administration are considering giving the millions of immigrants temporary legal status.
Before President Obama’s June 30 announcement to use his executive powers to move forward with immigration reform, the president blamed House Republicans and their unwillingness to stand up to the Tea Party when it comes to immigration reform, according to the Hill.
In his Rose Garden announcement last month, President Obama said, “I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing…And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it’s bad for our economy, and it’s bad for our future.”
Even before this, the president said he had no authority or power to change the immigration laws in the U.S.
Now, according to TIME, pro-reform activists say the president will be seeking to give millions of illegal immigrants “temporary relief from deportation,” which would protect them and allow them to work in the U.S. These claims come almost a month after these activists met with the president, where he disclosed his plan was to act before November.
Until then, the president and his administration are looking into how far they can legally and politically go to protect the millions of immigrants from deportation, according to Politico.
In a similar move, President Obama and his administration want to begin screenings to grant child immigrants from Honduras refugee status, according to CBS News. The administration hopes this will slow the influx of youths into the country illegally, while allowing the children to escape gang violence throughout the Central American country.
This plan is similar to the plan proposed by senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. According to New York Magazine, this plan would increase the number of refugee applications already available to countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, but the time for deportation would be lessened.
Screening for refugees is not a new plan of action for the U.S. government though. In the 1990’s, the U.S. began screening children in Haiti to give them refugee status, while immigrants from El Salvador were granted temporary protective status starting in 2001.
According to the NY Times, critics of this plan are claiming the administration would only increase the flow of immigrants to the U.S. as the legal definition of refugee would be changed.
As of now, the recognized definition of a refugee in the U.S. is a person or group of people who are fleeing their country on the basis of fears of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a given social group.