During the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia on Sunday, Nov. 16, President Obama announced plans to sign an executive order on immigration allowing approximately five million undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation.
The implications of this executive action could have numerous political implications leading up to the 2016 presidential election and beyond.
According to The New York Times, the changes to the current immigration reform system would offer legal documents to illegal immigrants living in the U.S.
However, this law would not provide green cards to the immigrants. According to The New York Times, no formal or lasting status will come into play with this executive action.
The Obama administration hopes that this executive action will have a quick and effective impact on immigrant families currently in the country.
Based on this expected executive order, the Obama administration believes that many of the fears of separated families will be alleviated.
Many immigrants will also receive work permits, giving them Social Security numbers that will allow them to work under their own names.
The immigrants will also be able to legally travel across the U.S., according to The New York Times.
Some states would even allow them to obtain drivers licenses, as well as professional certificates.
According to The Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Obama signing an executive order on immigration would be the equivalent of “waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner (R-Ohio), also promised to fight the move by the Obama administration. Boehner believes the president will “burn himself” if he chooses to move forward with his immigration plans.
Obama dismissed any concerns when asked at the G20 Summit if he was worried about the Republicans shutting down the government, according to ABC.
“I think the main concern I have is to make sure we get it right,” Obama said. “And that’s what we’re focused on at this point. Because any executive action I take is going to require some adjustments to how the Department of Homeland Security operates. I want to make sure that we’ve crossed all our T’s and dotted all our I’s. That’s my main focus.”
The White House plans to create staggered groups of illegal immigrants, allowing them to quickly apply for deportation deferrals over the next few months.
These deferrals would be for the children of legal U.S. residents, or for their parents if they have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.
By implementing this executive action, Obama and his staff hope they’ll gain significant support from the Latino community, making it difficult for Republicans to be in opposition.
“The time for big, bold, unapologetic administrative relief is now,” said José Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit advocacy group.
According to ABC, if Congress decides to act on immigration, Obama said, “Metaphorically, I’ll crumple up whatever executive actions that we take and we’ll toss them in the wastebasket because we will now have a law that addresses these issues.”
Editor’s Note: Information from The New York Times, ABC and The Washington Post was used in this report.