DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – President Barack Obama is set to move forward with major immigration reform. The President will unveil his plans in a national address on Thursday night, and watch parties are already being scheduled across the nation. But, as one might expect, not everyone is on board with the President’s agenda.
North Texas supporters are set to gather at Mesa Latin Kitchen & Lounge in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, La Casita Tex Mex in north Dallas, and at Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission along Webb Chapel Road. The watch parties begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening. The President’s address begins 30 minutes later.
Advocates for immigration reform said that Thursday is going to be an emotional night.
President Obama’s plan could protect millions of people from deportation, and that is something that certain parts of the North Texas community have been seeking for almost a decade. An estimated 500,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Dallas in April 2006, demanding such immigration reform. A similar march happened again in 2010.
Now, on Thursday night, President Obama is expected to announce some new protections for immigrants who arrive in the United States illegally as children. The move would grant a two-year reprieve and, possibly, provide them with work visas. The change could protect as many as 6 million immigrants from being deported.
Dallas immigration attorney Fernando Dubove expects that those already in line for legal status — some for a very long time — will qualify. “Maybe just to get their residency,” he said, “because they filed their application through a family member before April 30, 2001 and they’re still waiting 13 years later. They’ve been hearing for years about some possible immigration reform and nothing has happened. This is going to be an early Christmas for them.”
A number of prominent Republicans are angry with this move, saying that the President has overstepped Congress with his actions to overhaul the immigration system by enacting changes under an executive order. This also comes just two months before Republicans take control of Congress.
“Failing to get your way in Congress doesn’t mean the President can simply override the Congress with the stroke of his pen,” said Republican Sen. John Cornyn. “There is broad support for passing a series of common sense immigration reform bills.”
“If he goes through with this,” added Gov. Rick Perry, “and sticks his finger in the eye of the American people with no thought about it, other than this is what I want to do and I’m going to do it, then I think he jeopardizes long-term the Democrats ever to get back in power again in Washington, D.C.”
Perry said that “it’s a very real possibility” that Texas will sue the federal government after President Obama implements his executive action.
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