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Battle over Obama's immigration reform continues to brew



by Matthew Rusling December 2, 2014   


Newscast Media WASHINGTONA battle over immigration reform is brewing in Washington after President Barack Obama's announcement last month that he would act alone and issue an executive order to prevent the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants.

The announcement has sparked much controversy, as critics lambasted the president for what they call circumventing Congress and taking matters into his own hands to reform the broken immigration system. A number of opponents call Obama's action illegal.

Although GOP lawmakers are expected to protest vehemently, they may not have many tools at their disposal to undo an executive order.

"Republicans will try to weaken Obama's executive order on immigration. They will pass legislation, remove funding, and make angry speeches about this action," Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua.

"There will be a lot of attention on this issue, but the GOP doesn't have very many tools to prevent its implementation," West said. "The courts generally have given the president broad leeway to administer immigration issues."

"Obama's action will strengthen GOP resolve to fight the president on many different fronts, but the party's such acts will help Democrats rally Latino voters in 2016," he continued. "Those individuals will see the Republicans as doing nothing to advance immigration reform for Latinos."

Meanwhile, Congress needs to pass a broad spending bill before Dec. 11 to prevent a government shutdown. Although GOP lawmakers are steaming over Obama's immigration reform plan, their leaders would like to avoid shutting down the government over the issue, in the belief that such an action would backfire on them.

"There are many Republicans who would like to use every possible tool to undo the executive order, but much of the leadership would prefer to avoid a shutdown, for instance, and focus on other priorities," Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, told Xinhua.

Obama's announcement came on the heels of a decisive GOP victory in last month's Congressional elections, when Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress in one of the most resounding GOP sweeps since World War II.

Refusing to become a lame duck, Obama took solo action on immigration. But Republicans are not expected to back down on the critical issue, as many of their constituents fear that the order will encourage even more illegal immigration into the United States.

Moreover, opponents of Obama's move worry that those covered under the presidential order could cost the United States millions of dollars in social benefits.

Many of the immigrants are not properly educated. Half of them have received education of no more than 12 years. Only a quarter of them have high school diplomas, according to figures from the Migration Policy Institute. More than half of them say they speak English "not very well" or "not at all."

Such figures bring worries that those covered under the order could eat up more in services than they would pay in taxes, as those with poor English skills and lower levels of education tend to earn less money.   Add Comments>>















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