Obama urged to act if Congress axes immigration reform

President George W. Bush and Barack Obama meet in Oval Office2If the campaign for immigration reform sputters to a halt in Congress, supporters are urging President Obama to act on his own in order to assist the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country, according to immigration advocates and lawmakers.

House Democratic aides, immigration law experts and even some senators are speculating that if Congress fails to come to an agreement in regards to a wide-ranging immigration bill during 2013, Obama could make use of his executive authority in order to put a stop to the deportation of parents of children who are illegally living in the United States.  The great majority of these children have been given a temporary reprieve from being deported and extending that protection to their parents is one way of ensuring that immigrant families are able to stay together.

There are plenty of drawbacks to going around Congress, however, as any actions Obama might take on his own would not be as enduring as the actual enacting of a law would be.  Nor would he be able to make use of his executive authority in order to enact sweeping changes such as offering citizenship to undocumented immigrants.

Obama could help a broad spectrum of undocumented immigrants by offering temporary legal status to those who have clean records and have been living in the United States for ten years or more, although any such actions would undoubtedly provoke an extreme reaction from the Republican Party.