Obama could force through immigration reform

US media reports suggest that President Barack Obama may force through long awaited immigration reform this week, by using executive action to bypass Congress where talks on reform have stalled.

In June 2013, the US Senate passed wide-ranging immigration reform measures which would see America’s immigration system undergo its biggest changes for almost 40 years.

However, the reform talks stalled once they reached the House of Representatives, due to Congress categorically refusing to accept measures that would legalise and offer a route to citizenship to the country’s roughly 11 million illegal immigrants. While the House supported many of the proposed reforms that would improve the low- and high-skilled immigration programmes, the President refused to take a piecemeal approach to adopting the changes, stating it would be all or nothing.

However, with many having already given up any hope of any much-needed action being taken to improve the US’s troubled immigration system, in recent months Obama has promised to get tough on forcing the reforms through.

“I am always interested in negotiating a legislative solution to the immigration problem, and that the minute they pass a bill that I can sign that fixes our immigration system, then any executive actions I take are replaced,” Obama said during a visit to Asia last week. “So they have the ability to fix the system. What they don’t have the ability to do is to expect me to stand by with a broken system in perpetuity,” he added.

Republicans have reacted angrily to the perceived threats, with Republican House Speaker John Boehner stating: “We are going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues own this path. This is the wrong way to govern. This is exactly what the American people said on [mid-term] election day they do not want.”

Article published 18th November 2014