By Katherine Brinn
Executive action on immigration. What does that mean exactly?
It's a way for the president to make a major change to immigration policy without consulting Congress, and this one could ease the fears of many undocumented immigrants … for now.
In an announcement on Thursday, President Obama unveiled a reform plan that will allow 5 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States without having to worry about getting deported.
It's a move the president is allowed to make without getting the green light from Congress, but that doesn't mean lawmakers are happy about it.
In fact, many of them, like House Speaker John Boehner, feel that his announcement amounts to an abuse of power, and they're threatening to retaliate — some have even threatened to sue the president.
Still, many stand by his choice. Advocacy groups say that millions of undocumented immigrants living in America are now breathing easier, relieved that they may no longer have to live and work in the shadows.
But one of the biggest responses to Obama's bold move has been a resounding "meh." The executive action may not herald the sweeping change that his supporters are touting. The millions who will be allowed to stay in the United States will not receive many of the benefits that Americans receive- like unemployment, food stamps, or health care under the Affordable Care Act. They can't even eventually become citizens.
That would require congressional legislation and a pathway to citizenship may become one of the biggest battles fought in Congress as Obama finishes out his presidency.
To understand this executive action — and what politicians are saying about it — watch the video above, so whether you think the president's plan is an overstep or a step in the right direction, at least you can say, "Now I Get It."