Obama could announce major changes to immigration policy next week

World Today

Major changes to immigration policy could be underway in the United States. White House administration officials and advocates are reporting that the president will announce unilateral action sometime next week. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported this story from Washington, D.C.

Immigration advocate Maru Mora Villalpando came to the United States 22 years ago from Mexico City on a tourist visa and stayed. Though she and her daughter share a close relationship, they do not share U.S. citizenship. She fears deportation and imagines how it would feel to have her “illegal” status lifted. 

“I could plan for her future and my future. I think she would be so happy,” she said.

Instead of remaining hidden, Villalpando has become one of a chorus of voices pressuring Washington to pass measures to create a pathway to citizenship for people like her. 

“When people say we don’t follow the rules, there are no paths for us to become legalized,” Villalpando said.

White House officials said Obama is poised to circumvent the U.S. Congress, and delay deportations for parents and spouses of U.S. citizens and those brought here before age 16.

“I indicated to Speaker Boehner several months ago that if in fact Congress failed to act, I would use all the lawful authority that I possess to try to make the system work better. And that’s going to happen. That’s going to happen before the end of the year,” Obama said.

Congressional Republicans have threatened to sue the president and could delay passing the U.S. budget and possibly again shutting down the government.

“We are going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path. This is the wrong way to govern. This is exactly what the American people said on election day  they don’t want,” said John Boehner, a Republican congressional leader.

But no one denies a presidential executive order extending deferment would come with an expiration date. Only congressional legislation can make it permanent.

“To be clear, this is not a legal status. POTUS cannot grant it without legal action, without legislation,” Matthew Kolodziej, said an immigration attorney.

Nonetheless Villalpando fears deportation less than no solution at all, but she is clear that there are no heroes in this situation.