As President, Barrack Obama does not have the authority to create new law. For instance, he could not singularly enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform, nor could he add visa numbers to needed occupational classifications, such as nurses and other healthcare EB3 positions. He can however implement policy initiatives through Executive Action.
Rumors are swirling that the President may issue a surprise Executive Order to prohibit the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have no criminal records. The rumors are not the work of partisan bloggers, but are now being picked up by credible sources, like the Miami Herald, and have been taken up in a letter by eight Republican Senators to the President.
There could be two reasons for the President to take this action. First, the President owes a debt of gratitude to the Latino community, which came out in full force for him in 2008. By legalizing millions, the President would make an enormous payment toward that debt.
Second, and critical for those who watch for Healthcare Immigration reform, the President’s action could force Republicans to the CIR negotiating table. Whether the strategy works – or whether the President is even considering the Executive Action – remains to be seen.