Could Obama expand on deferred action?

President_George_W._Bush_and_Barack_Obama_meet_in_Oval_OfficeAfter having kept fairly quiet on the issue of immigration reform for the past few weeks, Senator Marco Rubio has been making headlines by saying President Obama could make use of his executive powers in order to let undocumented immigrants remain in the United States if reform legislation fails to be passed by Congress.

“I believe that the President will be tempted – if nothing happens in Congress – he will be tempted to issue an executive order like he did for the DREAM Act kids a year ago – where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen,” Rubio told WFLA’s The Morning Show with Preston Scott in an interview held in Tennessee on Tuesday.

After the DREAM Act failed to pass through Congress three years ago, back in 2010 (legislation that would have offered a path to US citizenship for undocumented young people), Obama went into bat in order to give DREAM ACT-eligible youth work authorization and a two-year reprieve from deportation via a new program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which started taking applications a year ago yesterday.

A brand new report that was released earlier this week shows that over half a million undocumented youth have already put in applications for the program, with 430,000 already benefiting from it, but the real question is whether Obama will take executive action to enable more immigrants to remain in the United States should reform fail to pass Congress.