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Following Midterm Elections, Obama Plans Executive Orders on Immigration

According to reports, President Obama plans to order several immigration-related changes by the end of this year. The plans, not yet finalized, possibly include allowing certain parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children to stay in the United States. Other changes being considered include expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, instituting protections for unauthorized farmworkers who have been working in the United States for years, expanding opportunities for immigrants with technology skills, and clarifying guidance on the prioritization of criminals and others for removal.

Shortly after the midterm elections on November 4, 2014, in which it did not appear that immigration issues were deciding factors, President Obama said, "Before the end of the year, we're going to take whatever lawful actions that I can take that I believe will improve the functioning of our immigration system. What I’m not going to do is just wait." President Obama has said he would reverse those executive orders if Congress passes a comprehensive immigration legislation that he can sign. Republicans countered that they would fight whatever changes the President orders "tooth and nail," according to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). He said all options were on the table. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that any unilateral executive actions on immigration would be like "waving a red flag in front of a bull."

On the other side are immigration advocates who expect President Obama to keep earlier promises. Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, "This is his last chance to make good on his promise to fix the system. If he delays again, the immigration activists would—just politically speaking—jump the White House fence."

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