San Diegans Plan Watch Party on Obama’s Immigration Plan

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President Barack Obama. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Immigrant-rights groups in San Diego and around Southern California on Wednesday were eagerly awaiting specifics of President Barack Obama’s plans to take executive action on immigration, which is likely to protect millions of people living in the country illegally from deportation.

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Obama is scheduled to deliver a nationwide address on the topic at 5 p.m. Thursday, then rally support for his proposal at a Friday morning event in Las Vegas.

Members of Alliance San Diego will be holding a watch party for the president’s Thursday address at ASD’s North Park office.

The White House has not released any specifics of the executive order. In a video posted on the White House Facebook page, Obama says he is taking action because Congress “has allowed the problem to fester for far too long.”

“And so what I’m going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system work better, even as I continue to work with Congress to encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem,” he said.

The president’s action is likely to protect from deportation the parents of children who are U.S. citizens, affecting as many as 4 million immigrants — provided they do not have criminal records.

Media reports out of Washington indicated that other portions of the president’s action will protect another 1 million immigrants from deportation.

Republican leaders in Washington, including House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, have said congressional progress on immigration has stalled due to the GOP belief that Obama will fail to enforce whatever laws are enacted.

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“It is sad and disappointing that — faced with this challenge — President Obama won’t work with us, but is instead intent on going it alone with executive orders that can’t and won’t fix these problems,” Boehner said.

Boehner and other Republicans have vowed to attempt to overturn whatever action the president takes.

“If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announce an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for congressional action on this issue, and many others,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

Sen Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., countered that Republicans in Congress never expressed such outrage when President Ronald Reagan legalized 3 million immigrants in 1986 or when President George H.W. Bush halted deportations of more than 1.5 million people.

“I’ll tell you, President Bush’s Family Fairness policy, the executive action he took, was sweeping,” Boxer said. “It affected more than 40 percent of the undocumented population in the United States at the time. He thought big, George Bush Sr., he thought big. And this president should think big.”

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