Immigration activists are now urging President Obama to issue an executive order and legalize the undocumented immigrants living in the country. They want him to make use of his Presidential powers and permit the undocumented immigrants to apply for US citizenship.
Activists want the president to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and legalize all the immigrants, irrespective of age. But the White House says that President Obama has no intention of legalizing the country’s undocumented immigrants by issuing an executive order. President Obama stated that he will not expand the deferred action program. The President, in an interview, stated that legal problems would be created if the deferred action program is expanded.
President Obama implemented the DACA program in 2012, which gives the young undocumented immigrants an opportunity to live, study and work legally in the United States. To become eligible for DACA status, an undocumented youth must have entered into the country illegally or must have overstayed his non-immigrant visa. This applies to the ones who entered into the country as minors when they were too young to realize that they were illegally entering into America and the ones who unknowingly let their non-immigrant visas expire and were unaware of their status in the country.
These immigrants who receive this temporary deferred action status can live in America without fear of deportation for a two year period. However, they must not be above age 31 or below 16, at the time of filing their applications for DACA status. More than 500,000 undocumented youth have applied for deferred action status so far and most of the applicants are Mexicans. Studies show that the youth who are eligible for lawful status under the DREAM Act would help boost the economy of the United States, if permitted to work here legally.
President Obama hopes that the US Congress will soon send him a comprehensive immigration reform legislation that he could sign into law. Lawyers in the United States say that the President does not have the power to issue executive orders and legalize undocumented immigrants. But the Republicans believe that President Obama will issue an executive order and expand the deferred action program. One the other hand, people who back immigration reform believe that the House will not pass the reform bill that was passed by the Senate. They say that President Obama must act if the Congress fails to pass a comprehensive reform bill by the end of this year.