The battle over reforming the immigration system in the United States looks set to reach a flashpoint between the two major political parties in Washington, particularly in the light of the Republican party’s success in the midterm elections this week. This victory has seen the party seize power in the Senate and further consolidate its hold on the House of Representatives.
Despite the Republicans’ victory, President Obama has made it clear that he still intends to follow through on his promise to use executive action to enact immigration reform in the country ‒ something the great majority of Republicans are fiercely opposed to. Such action could result in millions of undocumented immigrants being given at least some form of legal status in the United States, if not full citizenship.
Despite the Senate passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill in June last year, the House of Representatives, which has had a Republican majority for some years, has refused to allow a vote on this bill. This has resulted in the president deciding to take unilateral action. “What I’m not going to do is just wait,” Obama says. “I think it’s fair to say that I’ve shown a lot of patience and have tried to work on a bipartisan as much as possible and I’m going to keep on doing so.”
John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, has warned the president against taking unilateral action, saying that such action will “poison the well” and ensure that there is no chance of Congress taking its own action on the issue.