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Obama, Daring Congress, Acts to Overhaul Immigration

2014.11.21 Няма коментари
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WASHINGTON — President Obama chose confrontation over conciliation on Thursday as he asserted the powers of the Oval Office to reshape the nation’s immigration system and all but dared members of next year’s Republican-controlled Congress to reverse his actions on behalf of millions of immigrants.

In a 15-minute address from the East Room of the White House that sought to appeal to a nation’s compassion, Mr. Obama told Americans that deporting millions is “not who we are” and cited Scripture, saying, “We shall not oppress a stranger for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.”

The prime-time speech reflected Mr. Obama’s years of frustration with congressional gridlock and his desire to frame the last years of his presidency with far-reaching executive actions. His directive will shield up to five million people from deportation and allow many to work legally, although it offers no path to citizenship.

President Obama announced executive actions on immigration at the White House on Thursday. Pool photo by Jim Bourg

Mr. Obama intends to underscore the schism between the parties on the issue of immigration during a campaign-like rally on Friday at a high school in Las Vegas, where Hispanics are a powerful and growing voting bloc.

The trip is part of a White House strategy to try to convince Americans in the next months that Mr. Obama’s actions are legal and right. Immigration advocates plan to use that time to push for greater protections while Republicans are devising ways to defy the president and exercise their new authority.

Mr. Obama’s actions will sharpen the focus of government enforcement on criminals and foreigners who pose security threats. High-tech workers will have an easier time coming to the United States, and security on the border will be increased.

The centerpiece of the president’s announcement is a new program for unauthorized immigrants who are the parents of United States citizens. About four million people will be eligible for a new legal status that would defer their deportations and allow them to work legally. They must pass background checks and pay taxes, but they will receive Social Security cards, officials said.

To those people, Mr. Obama said, “You can come out of the shadows.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/us/obama-immigration-speech.html

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