Up to 5 Million Undocumented Immigrants Could Get Work Permits and Immunity

President Barack Obama will announce a sweeping immigration proposal next week.
President Barack Obama will announce a sweeping immigration proposal next week. –Getty Images

Republicans angry over President Barack Obama’s stance on immigration will be even angrier next week when he announces major changes to the immigration enforcement system. Those changes could protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to The New York Times.

Administration officials with direct knowledge of the plan say Obama intends to order changes that will significantly alter the focus of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One major change would allow parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents, potentially eliminating the fear of being discovered and deported.

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That could affect up to 3.3 million people living in the United States illegally, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute. The Times reports the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.

The president’s plan will likely ramp up his battle with Republican adversaries and could impact budget negotiations as well as the confirmation of Loretta E. Lynch, the president’s nominee to be attorney general, during the lame-duck session of Congress that began this week.

Republican anger over the plan and its timing will likely increase as they take control of both chambers of Congress early next year.

“Our office stands ready to use any procedural means available to make sure the president can’t enact his illegal executive amnesty,’’ Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, told The Times.

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