Even as the White House tries to deal with the immigration crisis taking place at the US border, it is also making plans to take action prior to the midterm elections in November to potentially give millions of work permits to undocumented immigrants to allow them to remain in the country without being deported, lawmakers and advocates say.
A large-scale move such as this regarding immigration could scramble politics during election year and push some of the most conservative members of the Republican party to demand impeachment proceedings against President Obama ‒ a possibility that has been openly discussed by White House officials. There is little sign that Obama has been impeded in making these plans by the humanitarian crisis currently playing out in South Texas, however, where unaccompanied immigrant minors have been arriving en masse from Central America.
Late last month Obama declared that efforts in Congress to fix the country’s broken immigration system were defunct and that he would make changes himself to deal with the issue. Since then he has requested $3.7bn from Congress to deal with the unaccompanied immigrant minor crisis ‒ a request that remains unmet.
In the meantime, officials in the White House ‒ led by counsel Neil Eggleston; Cecilia Munoz, the domestic policy council director; and Jeh Johnston, the homeland security secretary ‒ have been planning executive actions that could be taken by the president. Republicans have warned that a constitutional crisis could result from Obama taking solo action on immigration.