POLITICS

President Obama expected to unveil immigration executive order this week

The activist group Puente, accompanied by family and friends facing deportation, holds a rally for deferred action for undocumented immigrants outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix on Friday, Nov. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Nick Oza)

The activist group Puente, accompanied by family and friends facing deportation, holds a rally for deferred action for undocumented immigrants outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix on Friday, Nov. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Nick Oza)  (ap)

President Barack Obama may announce his plan for unilateral action on immigration as soon as this week.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Obama is announcing on Thursday that he is issuing an executive order on immigration.

Among other things, he is expected to give temporary legal status to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants in the country illegally – a move that, though not permanent, could dramatically change their lives by suspending deportation for two years and allowing them to register for work permits and driver’s licenses.

Several media outlets have reported that Obama will travel to Las Vegas on Friday, heightening anticipation that he will say more about the executive order during that trip.

The Post said his trip to Las Vegas would aim “to rally support for his initiative on Friday.”

On Wednesday, at an event at the National Press Club, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Obama will announce "in the coming days... [a] set of comprehensive reforms, within our existing legal authorities, to fix our broken immigration system."

Republicans are vehemently opposed to some of the president's likely actions, with some conservative members threatening to pursue a government shutdown or even impeachment proceedings if Obama follows through on his promise to act on immigration before the end of the year.

The White House did not confirm Obama's travel plans or the purpose for the visit. In 2013, the president traveled to Las Vegas to unveil his blueprint for comprehensive immigration legislation.
A wide-ranging immigration bill passed the Senate that year, but stalled in the House.

Obama vowed this summer to make changes to the immigration system using his presidential administrative authority, but delayed the measures until after the midterm elections, in part because of concerns from some Democrats facing tough races.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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