Obama's Immigration Nuclear Option: Stopping Deportations Unilaterally
The biggest obstacle facing immigration reform may be not opposition but inertia. Leaders of the House of Representatives have said they plan to act, but with the coming months likely to be consumed by budget drama, immigration could fall by the wayside.
If that happens, advocates of immigration reform have another idea: They’ll push Obama to press the button on the immigration-reform nuclear option.
The option commonly referred to by immigration reformers as “Plan B” would see the president take executive action to prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported -- along the lines of the deferred-action program the administration created for “Dreamers” last year. It wouldn’t be a panacea, and it wouldn’t give them citizenship. But such an action could at least spare some from the constant threat of deportation. And perhaps just as important, it could exact major political revenge on Republicans, galvanizing the Hispanic electorate against them and further hurting their image with the fastest-growing segment of voters.