AFRICANGLOBE – A new immigration battle is brewing in Washington, amid reports President Barack Obama is planning unilateral action that would protect up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation.
Officials familiar with the plan say Obama could make an announcement as early as next week, or wait until next month after Congress approves a budget.
Whenever it happens, the move is guaranteed to anger Republicans, who are already preparing efforts to block it.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that lawmakers will “fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path.” He warned all options are on the table.
But the president said Friday during a visit to Myanmar that “rather than devote a lot of time trying to constrain my lawful actions,” Republicans should instead “spend some time passing a bill” to reform immigration.
Obama said Congress has “the ability to fix the system,” but not the ability to expect him to “stand by with a broken system.”
The president has vowed to take executive action on immigration by the end of the year. He says he must act on his own because the Republican-controlled House has failed to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill the Senate approved last year.
Obama’s move is expected to allow millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally to stay and work in the United States. The five million immigrants who could be shielded under the plan include parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents.
The conflict the plan is set to ignite with Republicans is likely to worsen when the new Congress convenes in January. Republicans held onto the House and won control of the Senate in congressional elections earlier this month.
Republican Mitch McConnell, set to become Senate majority leader, said Obama taking unilateral action on immigration is like “waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
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