Despite near universal opposition from Republicans, President Barack Obama will announce an overhaul of United States immigration policy through an executive action that would shield about five million illegal immigrants from deportation and provide several of them with work permits, according to a report from The New York Times.
Such a move will undoubtedly start a political battle with Republicans, who have been blocking the efforts of Democrats in Congress to reform America’s immigration laws and have warned the president not to take unilateral action on immigration, according to Reuters. That warning has much more weight since the Republicans won control of Congress.
While the White House didn’t confirm the detail of the plan, press secretary Josh Earnest said that President Obama “is still planning to make some decisions and announce them prior to the end of this calendar year. That should be an indication to you that the President is nearing a final decision,” as quoted by NPR.
The White House will most likely include parents and spouses of United States citizens and permanent residents in the plan, stipulating that they’ve resided in the United States for some period of time, which could be as little as five years. While President Obama can’t grant green cards or citizenships without congressional involvement, he can still offer work authorization and protection from deportation.