During remarks at a recent gala for the Congressional Hispanic Chamber Institute, President Barack Obama reaffirmed that he would take executive action to reform immigration laws if Congress failed to pass an immigration reform bill.
He stated that the next few weeks gave opportunities to promote and inform the American people as to why immigration reform is good for the country, and he encouraged voters to pressure Congress to pass immigration reform. He also said that any actions he would take would come after the November 4 elections.
In June of this year, the President said he would take executive action by the end of the summer. Last month, he delayed any action until after the elections.
If the President takes any action, there are certain things that he is able to do, according to the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. He could:
- grant deferred action to many people, including those eligible for legalization under US Senate Bill 744 (approved in 2013), and allow travel to origin countries.
- allow the USCIS to process permanent residence applications for those with deportation papers.
- expand who is covered by 245 (i) of the LIFE Act which allows permanent residence with the payment of a $1,000 fee.
- reduce prosecution of immigrants arrested at the border.
- limit the use of the Secured Communities program.
- have information about immigration visas provided to immigrants detained at the border.
- assign more resources to federal immigration offices, such as USCIS and ICE so they can process information requests for immigrants who wish to defend themselves in immigration court or seek a visa.