US President Barack Obama unveils sweeping immigration reforms

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President Barack Obama has unveiled far reaching US immigration reforms that will protect over 5 million people from deportation,testing the limits of his presidential powers,and inviting a showdown with the newly emboldened Republicans.


In a speech on Thursday night,President Obama, announced plans to protect nearly five million immigrants who are living illegally in the United States by granting them work permits.
Obama noted that his executive decision was his "commonsense" plan consistent with what previous presidents of both parties have done.


"To those members of the congress who question my authority to make the system work,or question my wisdom at working where the congress has failed,i have one answer ,pass a bill". Obama said.
Republicans who take full control of congress by January after capturing the senate from Democrats,warned that Obama would face serious consequences for what they described as unconstitutional power grab.


Republicans are in a bind over immigration:the US electorate is rapidly becoming more diverse,especially more hispanic. Republican leaders have said the party risks its long term future if it does not act to deal with Americas immigration problems.


The white House says the president is exercising his executive authority to tackle immigration reform unilaterally,as Republicans Ronald Reagan and George Bush did.


The presidents broadcast decree was expected to apply tp about 4.1 million parents who are living in the US illegally,but whose children are citizens or permanent residents.
If the parents have lived in the US for at least five years,they could apply for protection from deportation and work permits.


Despite the sweeping scope of the presidents actions, more than half of the 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally will be granted no specific protections.


However,Obama's moves aims to decrease the likelihood that many of them would be deported by ordering the department of homeland security to focus its enforcement on those who have criminal histories or who recently crossed the border.


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