President Obama will make his much-awaited announcement to take executive action on immigration Thursday, according to two Congressional aides speaking under the condition of anonymity. The aides say that he’ll head to Las Vegas on Friday. He’ll present more details of the order at Del Sol High School in front of an audience of immigrants and their advocates.
This won’t be the first time Obama addresses immigration at Del Sol High School. The president was there nearly two years ago outlining another reform plan. He promised then that he would introduce his own legislation if Congress didn’t move quickly. The House did introduce and pass a bill–which eventually died in the Senate in 2013.
The president’s plan may expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, by widening age requirements for eligibility. Although DACA isn’t a path to citizenship, it protects immigrants from deportation for two years at a time and it provides work permits for that time. Obama may also outline a plan to extend deportation relief to the parents of children who are U.S. citizens or Green Card holders. It’s unclear whether the parents of DACA recipients will be eligible. According to one immigration advocate who spoke on condition of anonymity, DACA recipient Astrid Silva and her father have been invited to attend Obama’s primetime address on Thursday, a signal that deferred action may be cover parents. The president is also expected to expand visas for high-skill tech workers and increase security along the southern border. Obama’s plan is expected to benefit up to five million of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
The president’s plan will likely fall far short of what immigrant advocates have been demanding. In a statement, National Day Laborer Organizing Network head Pablo Alvarado said, "100% of immigrants deserve equality, and regardless of what the President says or when he says it, we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to defend and advance our rights."
But Obama’s plan is already being dogged by Republicans. According to Reuters, House speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, has resorted to implying that Obama is governing as a reigning monarch: "If ‘Emperor Obama,’" said Steel, "ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for congressional action on this issue and many others."