Everyone knows that our immigration system has been broken for decades. So, like many presidents before him, President Obama is taking new steps to do what he can to fix the system while the country waits for Republicans to Congress to act.
President Obama is using his executive authority to fix as much of the broken system as he can, and ensure that everyone is held accountable and has the opportunity to play by the rules and contribute to the United States. You can read the full details of the plan here, but here's a breakdown of what the President’s plan will do:
For undocumented immigrants who are living in our country illegally, this is the deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents; if you pass a criminal background check, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation and be required to pay taxes.
Yes. The Constitution and the Immigration and Naturalization Act give the Executive Branch the authority to set enforcement priorities and to improve how agencies implement the law. The Supreme Court has agreed on this. It is that authority that has allowed presidents, Democrats and Republicans alike, to take action on immigration for more than half a century.
Quite the opposite. Every president since President Eisenhower has used his legal authority to act on immigration. The actions the President is taking are comparable to the actions President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush took. Here are a few examples of how presidents have used their authority to address immigration:
No. The President is holding undocumented immigrants accountable for their actions. That is the opposite of amnesty. Amnesty is what we have today: a broken system where millions of people don’t register, don’t undergo criminal background checks, and don’t pay taxes. Now, more than 4 million undocumented immigrants can come out of the shadows and get right with the law while those who are threats to our security will be the focus of enforcement. As the President said, we will focus on deporting felons, not families; criminals, not children.
No. A key part of the President’s actions includes continuing robust investments that are already strengthening our border security. In fact, the Obama administration’s investment in border technology, manpower, and resources represents the most serious and sustained action to secure our border in American history.
Over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Learn more about the President’s efforts here. These Executive Actions will not benefit immigrants who recently crossed the border, who may cross the border in the future, or who help those who cross in the future, but rather immigrants who have been living in the United States for years.
Here’s the bottom line: If you attempt to enter the United States illegally, your chances of getting caught and returned just went up.
No. The President’s actions are a first step, and he is committed to working with Congress to pass a bill that will deliver a long-lasting, permanent fix for the whole system. In fact,Democrats, Republicans, and Independents did pass a comprehensive immigration bill in the Senate more than 500 days ago. That bill would:
Unfortunately, House Republicans have refused to bring it to a vote for more than 500 days. As the President said, "To those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill."
To learn more about the President’s Executive Actions, go to: obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/immigration-action