WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. President Barack Obama will address the nation on Thursday night to lay out the details of his executive action on immigration reform, which is expected to allow as many as five million undocumented immigrants to legally stay in the United States.
Obama said he will deliver an address to the nation from the White House at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. “Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken. Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for 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,” he said.
The president said he intends to continue to work with Congress and encourage them to pass a bipartisan, comprehensive bill to achieve a long-term solution to the problem. After his speech on Thursday night, he will travel to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas on Friday to explain why he is using his executive authority now, White House spokesman Josh Earnest added.
“This is a step forward in the President’s plan to work with Congress on passing common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform,” Earnest said. “The Senate passed a bipartisan 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.”
Obama’s executive action is expected to allow as many as five million undocumented immigrants to stay in the country legally, including the parents of children who are American citizens and those with high-tech skills. The issue is highly controversial with fierce opposition from Republicans, including some who believe executive action on immigration would exceed the president’s Constitutional authority.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that an estimated 48 percent of Americans oppose Obama’s plan to take executive action on immigration reform, with only 38 percent voicing their support. The remaining 14 percent either have no opinion or are unsure, NBC News reported.