President Obama in a prime-time address to the nation Thursday night trumpeted his executive action to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, saying the most extensive overhaul to the immigration system in decades would limit “real amnesty” in the United States.
Ignoring GOP cries of executive overreach, the president opted to move ahead with unilateral action that adds fuel to the simmering feud over the limits of his executive authority.
The centerpiece of Obama’s executive blueprint is the deferral of deportations for roughly 4.1 million undocumented immigrants whose children are American citizens or permanent residents. Under the president’s plan, the parents must have lived in the U.S. for at least five years to receive work permits.
“I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty,” Obama said. “Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.”
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