President Barack Obama will announce his controversial and long-anticipated plan that would shield millions of immigrants from deportation with a prime-time address Thursday night from the White House.
He’s expected to sign an executive order to give as many as 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission the authority to stay and work here, despite vehement Republican opposition.
In a video posted on the White House Facebook page, Obama says he’ll talk about steps he can take “to start fixing our broken immigration system,” arguing that “everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken.
“Unfortunately Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long,” he said. He said he’d outline what he could do with his “lawful authority as president” to make the system work better.
Obama will address the nation at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.
Obama will follow up his speech with a pitch on Friday from Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, where he called for a rewrite of immigration laws two years ago, shortly after his reelection -- and in the wake of widespread Republican losses at the ballot box. He’ll use the high school as a backdrop for pushing Republicans in Congress to act on an immigration overhaul, Earnest said.
Republicans have called for the White House to wait for the new Congress to take office in January, but Earnest noted the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill more than 500 days ago, “and while the country waits for House Republicans to vote, the President will act -- like the Presidents before him -- to fix our immigration system in the ways that he can.”
Republicans have vowed to fight Obama on the measure, challenging its legality.