Obama to Announce Executive Order on Immigration

19 November, 2014

President Barack Obama soon is expected to announce his decision on what to do with millions of undocumented immigrants. These migrants left their home countries and entered the United States illegally. The president is expected to approve an executive order that would save them from being sent back home.

Francisca has lived illegally in the United States for nine years. Her two children are U.S. citizens because they were born in the country. But just last month, her husband was returned to Guatemala. Now, Francisca worries she is next.

She says, "I do not want to take my children from here because here is where their future is."

Pro-immigration groups have brought U.S.-born children to protest in front of the White House. Brandy Hernandez was one of the demonstrators.

She and Francisca are two of the estimated millions who would be affected by the president's executive order. Mr. Obama is expected to give temporary help to undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States longer than five years and U.S.-born children. The president says he is acting because Congress has not.

But Republicans say an executive order so important like this one threatens the constitutional separation of powers. Under the system, Congress passes laws and the president's job is to enforce those measures.

Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama serves in the U.S. Senate.

"The president is not entitled to make law, to conduct actions contrary to plain law. The president simply cannot say, ‘Well, Congress didn't act, so I have to act.'"

Presidential spokesman Josh Earnest says the Obama administration is studying the constitution. But he is leaving open the possibility of Congress taking action.

"The president has indicated that he would happily throw away whatever, any executive actions that did not enact in favor of bipartisan legislation."

Jack Martin is with a group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform. He says immigration is a complex political issue for both sides.

"It falls right at the intersection of the efforts of the Democrats to solidify their support from the Latino community, that is the most interested in the immigration issue, and the problem for the Republicans of balancing grass-roots interests and business interests, as well as interest in attracting the Latino vote."

Observers say an order from the office of President Obama would be general guidance – one that could be a model for executive orders for future presidents.

I'm Bob Doughty.

*This report was based on a story from VOA reporter Carolyn Presutti. George Grow wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

immigrants - n., people who arrive in a country to live there

illegally - adj., not legal; in violation of the law

order - n., a command; the correct or normal way things are organized; a peaceful situation in which people obey laws; v., - to give a command; to tell someone what to do

citizens - n., people who are members of country, either by birth or by law

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