On Wednesday, President Obama spoke at a news conference, following the mid-term elections that took place the previous day. In his statements, the President continued to pledge his support for an Immigration Reform and vowed that he would continue to put forward action to achieve that end. At the news conference, President Obama told the public that he was tired of waiting for lawmakers to come to an agreement about the immigration issue. He declared that he would take executive action despite opposition for the Republican Party.
President Obama defended his position and outlined some of the changes he intends to undertake. The first he mentioned was to reduce the number of deportations or removals from the United States. He also promised to grant more work permits to undocumented individuals. Regarding border security, the President promised dramatic improvement before the end of the year. He further urged both Democratic and Republican party leaders to make an effort at bipartisan cooperation surrounding the immigration debate.
The statements made by President Obama, in light of the overwhelming victory of the Republicans in Tuesday’s elections did not sit well with Republican politicians. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican from Kentucky, is expected to take the role as majority leader in 2015. Senator McConnell analogized President’s statements to defying an angry bull, by waiving a red flag before it. The Immigration Debate clearly continues to sit as a topic that both Republicans and Democrats continue to battle and cannot see a way for a compromise. Because of that, President Obama stated that the only way to get something done in this climate of opposition, would be for a bill to be passed and sent to him for approval. He stated that he would take appropriate executive action on such a bill in order to make the problem go away.
The President conceded that many opponents would not be happy with any executive action that he will take. In fact, he admitted that Republicans would be angry and frustrated, however, these same politicians who oppose Immigration Reform at any level have blocked the House from being able to pass a very conservative bipartisan bill on the matter. Republicans, led by Senator McConnell, vow to stop the President’s actions and will use their majority seats, gained this week to that end. There was even talk by ultra conservative Republicans that an executive action by the President on Immigration Reform could lead to grounds for his impeachment. Republicans contend that if the President moves forward with Immigration Reform, he is completely ignoring the voice of the voters this week, who came out in favor of the Republicans by an overwhelming majority.
Immigration advocates are imploring the President to keep his promise and do something for the millions of undocumented individuals in the country. White House officials have stated that they are considering some of the changes that might be instituted on the immigration front. One would be according benefits to individuals who have at least a history of ten year residency in the United States. Another would be to provide work authorization to parents of children born in the United States. Both actions would serve as a strong starting point, but in this climate of anti-immigration reform, even these changes can expect to be highly contested.
Whatever change is ahead will have wait until later this month or early December, since the President will be traveling to Australia and Asia next week and would not take any action until his return.