As the Republican led House of Representatives continues to block comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama has made it clear that he will use his executive authority to fix as much of the problem as he can by the end of this summer. Of course, this initiative will be opposed by the Republicans who will most likely add this issue to their law suit against President Obama for his use of executive authority in the Obama Care issue.
Although his executive authority is limited, the President can do quite a bit to improve the immigration situation for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants. For instance, when Congress refused to pass the DREAM act, giving opportunity for immigrant youths to remain in the United States to attend college, President Obama offered deferred action to qualified immigrants giving them a two-year reprieve from deportation which included permission to work and drive legally.
Similarly, the President can give deferred action to any immigrant who would have qualified under the proposed immigration reform for a path to a green card or citizenship without Congressional approval. This includes people who have been here for a certain period of time and do not have serious criminal histories.
President Obama cannot grant a permanent amnesty or use executive action to grant immigrants a green card or citizenship. Anything he does will be temporary but, just the same, a welcome act by the millions of undocumented immigrant who work in the shadows to provide for their families.
At the same time, the administration has stepped up efforts to deport serious criminal offenders and deportations are at an all-time high under President Obama. The challenge is balancing enforcing with compassion.