Watch: Obama Defies GOP On Deportation

In a bold move against congress, President Barack Obama announced broad executive action, which offers short-term relief from deportation to nearly five million undocumented immigrants. Ironically, in his speech, Obama appealed to patriotism, saying that the separation of families, or the oppression of low-wage immigrant workers is “not who we are as Americans.”

Watch: Obama Defies GOP On Deportation

“If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes — you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation,” he said in a nationally televised address from the East Room of the White House. “You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”

Obama noted that the move would not grant undocumented immigrants citizenship or the right to remain in the country permanently. And he said that he will still push for a legislative solution — akin to a bipartisan Senate bill passed last year.

Pool photo of Obama by Jim Bourg-

President Obama announced executive actions on immigration at the White House on Thursday

“I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution,” he said. “And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.” “Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?”

Those who will be affected by the memoranda include the parents of children who were either born in the U.S. or are Lawful Permanent Residents, and children who were brought into the country illegally prior to January 1, 2010, and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years. The latter category represents an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which previously required applicants to have arrived before June 15, 2007 and had an age limit. DACA recipients will also be given a three-year reprieve, rather than the current two years

Republicans have slammed the move as an overstep of Obama’s constitutional authority, citing the president’s own past statements of concern about the legality of the kind of sweeping executive action that pro-reform activists have advocated.

Obama hit back at that critique, citing executive actions on immigration by past presidents, including those in the opposite party.

“The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half century,”

he said.

“And to those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

Moe Diab

Entrepreneur, Creative Mind, Writer, Human rights activist and News Analyst.

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