Before the midterm elections in early November, President Barack Obama promised that if Congress did not take legislative action toward a comprehensive solution to the nation’s immigration problems he would take executive action in that regard. But, as his democratic party was facing severe backlash against any potential presidential action immediately before the elections, Obama decided to delay his executive order until after the midterms. Now, with the democrats having lost significant seats in both houses of Congress, Obama is faced with a changed political landscape. Many wonder if he will go forward with his immigration executive actions despite the country’s seeming rebuke of his party.
Having lost the Senate, and having lost further ground in the House of Representative, president Obama now seems to be in a more precarious political position as it relates to taking executive action to help clarify the country’s immigration situation. Though the president never announced exactly what kind of action he was considering, many experts believe his executive order would at least temporarily normalize the immigration status is of up to five million undocumented immigrants. However, congressional leaders are promising that any action taken by the president will likely make the situation worse.
Supposing that the president does go ahead with a plan to normalize the legal status as of roughly five million undocumented immigrants, what could Congress do in order to block the actions’ effectiveness? Experts have said that Congress could vote to deny funding to the implementation of the president’s executive actions, essentially allowing them to stand but taking the teeth out of them. Another option could be congressional legislation which directly challenges the president’s executive actions. However, any legislation passed by the Congress will likely need the president’s signature to become law. It is therefore doubtful that Congress will be able to overrule the president legislatively, as he is not likely to sign legislation which directly challenges his executive actions, and congressional Republicans currently do not have a majority large enough to override a veto.
Some critics believe that the president’s threat of executive action is meant to spur his opponents to work with him towards finding a reasonable immigration solution. For example, the House of Representatives currently has an immigration bill which was passed by the Senate several months ago. Should the House leadership allow a simple vote on the legislation, this action alone may be enough to forestall the president’s executive action, whether or not the House votes to approve the immigration bill.
The United States continues to face significant challenges in overhauling its immigration system. Meanwhile, tens of millions of undocumented immigrants and perspective workers continue to face uncertainty. For those looking for the best outcome for their immigration related situation, it is advised that you not wait until finally passes a comprehensive bill. Instead, seek legal counsel by calling the Austin immigration attorneys at the Lyttle law Firm at 512-215-5225.