President Barack Obama today announced that in the absence of action by congressional Republicans on the immigration issue, he will begin a series of initiatives to fix part of the immigration system on his own, without Congress. During a press conference at the White House, Obama pointed out that it has been a year since the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan immigration reform and complained about the obstruction of Republicans in the House of Representatives who have not allowed a vote on any bill. The President insisted that this Republican stance has only harmed the country, so he could not wait any longer, and has asked his team to analyze what executive actions he can take to resolve the immigration situation in the country, which now also faces a humanitarian crisis with the arrival of thousands of children at the border.
"I take executive action only when we have a serious problem ... and Congress decides to do nothing," Obama said. As a first step, he asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to move available resources to the Mexican border to increase surveillance and strengthen security. In addition, he directed Secretary Johnson and Attorney General Holder to identify additional actions his administration can take within the president's existing legal authority. "If Congress won't do its job, at least we have to do ours," said Obama, who said he hoped to receive the recommendations before the end of the summer and take the suggested actions quickly. President Obama revealed that Republican leader and House Speaker John Boehner warned him last week that members of his party would continue to block a vote on immigration reform for the rest of the year, prompting him to take action and try to solve the problem on his own. However, the President indicated that he would prefer to see bipartisan immigration reform, and he is still hoping that congressional Republicans will change their minds and come up with a bill that lawmakers can vote on and sign into law. EXECUTIVE ACTIONS THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA COULD EXERCISE According to the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law), some of the actions President Obama could take to help immigrants include the following: 1. Grant deferred action to the greatest number of people, including those who would be eligible for legalization under the U.S. Senate Bill S. 744 The bill would allow them to travel to their countries of origin with an advance parole (advance parole). Allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process applications for permanent residency from individuals with deportation orders. Expand the classes of persons who are covered by 245(i) which allows them to apply for permanent residence in the U.S. by paying a fine of $$1,000. 4. Limit the detention of persons by increasing the use of bail and parole. 5. Decrease the prosecution of immigrants apprehended at the border in federal court on criminal charges. 6. Limit the use of the Secure Communities program. 7. Provide better information to immigrants apprehended at the border about possible immigration benefits such as U-visa, T-visa and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). 8. Allocate greater resources to federal government offices, including USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, so that these organizations can process FOIA requests from immigrants who wish to defend themselves in immigration court or apply for immigration benefits. You can watch President Obama's speech below and read it by clicking here. here.