President Barack Obama will announce his plans to address illegal immigration during an online livecast from the White House November 20. Obama will reportedly take executive actions to allow as many as 5 million people to avoid deportation and make them eligible for work permits.
“What I’m going to be laying out is the things I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system work better even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bi-partisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem,” Obama said by video on Facebook.com, November 19.
However, critics have said the move is unconstitutional and points to Obama’s own repeated assertions that he does not have the authority to take executive actions on illegal immigration.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) stated on Twitter, “22 times President Obama said he couldn’t do what he’s about to do.”
Boehner listed all of Obama’s 22 statements repeating his limited powers on illegal immigration, with the most recent being made on August 6, 2014.
“I think that I never have a green light [to push the limits of executive power]. I’m bound by the Constitution; I’m bound by separation of powers. There are some things we can’t do. Congress has the power of the purse, for example…Congress has to pass a budget and authorize spending. So I don’t have a green light…My preference in all these instances is to work with Congress, because not only can Congress do more, but it’s going to be longer-lasting,” Obama said.
Boehner said the public strongly opposes Obama taking unilateral action on illegal immigration without congressional input. A November 14-17, NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed 48 percent of respondents disapproved and leaned disapproval regarding executive action.
“President Obama is once again trying to mislead Americans, but he can’t run from what he’s said over and over (and over) again. Not only are Americans not stupid – they can read,” Boehner said.
Obama will present his intentions at 8 p.m. EST, Thursday, at WhiteHouse.gov/Live. It will apparently not be broadcast on network television.
According to a November 19 statement posted by Press Secretary Josh Earnest on WhiteHouse.gov, Obama is exercising his right to executive actions as presidents before him have done. He also insisted that Obama is not bypassing the U.S. Congress but only taking a step forward to jump start the process of immigration reform.
“This is a step forward in the President’s plan to work with Congress on passing common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform,” Earnest said. “The Senate passed a bipartisan bill more than 500 days ago, and while the country waits for House Republicans to vote, the President will act — like the Presidents before him — to fix our immigration system in the ways that he can.”
Obama will sign the executive actions during a speech on Friday, November 21, at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, NV. Del Sol is an academy of performing arts. “Del Sol has a large population of non-English speaking students, which led the school to establish the Newcomer Academy, a program designed to help students become proficient in English,” according to the school’s facebook page.
“He laid out his principles for that reform two years ago in Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, and that’s where he’ll return on Friday to discuss why he is using his executive authority now, and why Republicans in Congress must act to pass a long-term solution to immigration reform,” Earnest said.