While the calls keep on coming for comprehensive reform to fix what most people perceive as a broken immigration system in the United States, a number of observers fear that the decision by President Obama to take executive action to protect some undocumented immigrants from deportation could backfire and put paid to any chance of Congress passing binding legislation.
Although the move has been lauded by some undocumented immigrants, there are many others who are uneasy about the action that has been taken. Tony Payan, the director of the Mexico Center at the Baker Institute of Rice University, says some immigrants are fearful about putting in an application for legal status while it is only a temporary measure.
“Once they surrender their personal information to the government, once the government knows who they are and where they are and if the next president is not willing to extend that temporary protected status, then they are going to be found very quickly and to be denied,” Payan points out.
Despite his executive authority, the president is unable to achieve fully-comprehensive immigration reform without the approval of Congress. According to John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the Republican Party, which now controls both the House and the Senate, is so incensed by the president’s recent actions that such approval is now more unlikely than ever. “Instead of working together to fix our broken immigration system, the president says he is acting on his own,” Boehner explains. “That is just not how our democracy works.”