President Barack Obama has announced that he intends to take executive action to address a segment of the population of individuals that are in the United States illegally. The President’s plan is expected to impact approximately of 5 million of the estimated 11 million individuals who are present in the United States unlawfully.
The President’s Plan on Immigration
At the heart of the President’s immigration plan is to grant a reprieve to individuals who have been in the United States at least five years without legal authority. These people must have children who are citizens of the United States. In other words, while in the United States, these individuals have become the parents of children born in the country. In the alternative, these individuals can be parents of children who are illegal residents in the country as well. In other words, the heart of this initiative proposed by the President is to permit people illegally in the United States the ability to remain in the country without fear of deportation if they also have children in the United States.
If a person meets these basic requirements, he or she can then apply for relief. As part of the application process, a criminal background check is run. The individual must pass that background check in order to qualify to remain in the country.
Once the application process is completed, and the individual registers, he or she is able to remain in the country temporarily. As of this juncture, there is no precise time frame regarding how long an individual who qualifies and registers can remain in the United States. The reality is that Congress is able to pass legislation overturning the President’s initiative. The initiative is likely to be challenged in court for its constitutionality. In addition, a new President can reverse this initiative by Obama.
Potential Impact on Unemployment in the United States
There is a considerable amount of debate surrounding the impact the President’s immigrant initiative will have on the issue of unemployment in the United States. Some economists and others contend that it will cause an increase in the unemployment rate. They maintain that granting upwards of 5 million adults legal permission to me in the country will cause what may end up being a marked increase in the unemployment rate.
Not all economists and other analysts are in agreement with the idea that the President’s plan will increase unemployment. These individuals maintain that the bulk of the individuals likely to be impacted by the President’s plan are already working, albeit in a more closeted fashion. They argue that the initiative will have no appreciable impact on the U.S. unemployment rate.
Potential Impact on Average Wages in the United States
There is a concern that the President’s initiative may result in a negative impact on average wages in the United States. In other words, there is an argument being made that permitting upwards to 5 million foreign nationals the ability to work legally in the United States may result in employers engaging their services at rates of pay lower than what they might have otherwise offered. The theory is that these individuals will be willing to work for a lower rate of compensation when their status is legalized, causing an overall drop in average wages in the United States.