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Just how will President Obama seek to reform the immigration system?

For several months now, our blog has been closely following the efforts on Capitol Hill to introduce comprehensive immigration reform here in the U.S.

While things are been relatively quiet lately, both political analysts and legal experts have indicated that President Obama is likely to take some sort of promised unilateral action on the matter in the coming weeks or even days.

While it remains uncertain exactly what actions the President will ultimately decide to take, it is safe to say that his efforts will inevitably generate widespread dialogue among advocates and lawmakers alike. Indeed, it could even prompt a lawsuit alleging that he overstepped his constitutional authority.

Given that we could be on the precipice of major changes to the U.S. immigration system, it may be worthwhile to briefly explore a few of the actions the President could take.

Widespread reprieve from deportation

Introduced by the Obama Administration back in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- DACA -- was meant to help young people who came to the U.S as children secure a two-year deportation deferral.

To date, the program has proven wildly successful with over 550,000 people gaining approval, many of whom are currently in the process of seeking another two-year extension.

According to pundits, there is a chance that the President will greatly expand the DACA program to cover everyone from the parents, spouses and children of DACA recipients to undocumented immigrants who have lived here in the U.S. for a significant amount of time. Indeed, some immigrant advocacy groups indicate that the President could expand the pool of applicants to nearly 5 million.

It is worth noting that if the President does decide to take this action, experts predict that it would likely be accompanied by an expansion in the number of work permits, which would make it legal for these prospective DACA recipients to secure employment.

Armed forces service

Another action that the President could take (which likely wouldn't prove quite as controversial) would be to change the policy of prohibiting undocumented immigrants from serving in the armed forces.

According to experts, the President could act to expand the current power granted to the Secretary of Defense to permit some immigrants to enlist in the armed forces provided they have skills considered vital to the nation's interests. Specifically, he could grant the Secretary power to consider a higher number of undocumented immigrants.

Another move the President could take, say experts, is removing barriers preventing citizens with undocumented dependents (spouses, children, etc.) from enlisting in the armed forces.

It will be fascinating to see what actions the President ends up taking. Be certain to stay tuned to our blog for the latest developments.

What are your thoughts? Are there actions you would like to see President Obama take concerning U.S. immigration?

Source: USA Today, "5 things Obama may do to change immigration system," Alan Gomez, Aug. 27, 2014

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