An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday found 48% of Americans don’t want President Barack Obama to take executive action on immigration. According to the poll, 38% would support executive action from the president and 14% have no opinion or are unsure.
Obama is expected to unveil an executive action that would protect between four to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation later this week. Bloomberg News published a report Tuesday evening citing “people familiar with the proposal” who said it would include expansions of Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that defers deportations for undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children and a program that grants work permits to immigrants with science and technology degrees.
The White House has cited congressional inaction on immigration reform as a reason the president could have to go it alone.
Republicans strongly oppose potential executive action on immigration. At a press conference earlier this month House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) compared Obama acting on his own to reform immigration laws to playing with matches.
“He’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down the path,” Boehner said. “I’ve made it clear to the president that if he acts unilaterally — on his own, outside of his authority — he will poison the well.”
Some House Republicans want to use a government funding bill to block the money necessary for the president’s plan. That bill must be approved by Dec. 11 and, if it isn’t, there could be a situation similar to last year’s government shutdown that occurred last year due to debate over Obamacare.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are encouraging Obama to take sweeping action, which is seen as a way to improve the party’s relationship with Latino voters. At a press conference Tuesday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he hoped the president would make the executive order “as big as he can.”
“I think when the president decides to do his executive order, he should go big,” Reid said.
Naturally, the NBC/WSJ poll found public opinion about an executive order was split along party lines. According to the poll, 63% of Democrats and just 11% of Republicans support potential action from the president.
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