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Politics

Immigration: A timeline leading up to President Obama's executive action




US President Barack Obama tries to stop people boing an immigration activist who interrupted him during a campaign event at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School October 19, 2014 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
US President Barack Obama tries to stop people boing an immigration activist who interrupted him during a campaign event at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School October 19, 2014 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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President Obama will go lone wolf on immigration reform in an announcement Thursday night that could protect millions from deportation.

The move isn't popular with everyone on the Hill, and the threat of this presidential power move has played out like a TV political drama.

Niels Frenzen, USC law professor and director of the USC Immigration Clinic, walks Take Two through the timeline of important moments that led up to Thursday night's announcement.

* June 2013 -- Things seemed hopeful when the Senate passed an immigration bill. Republicans called on their colleagues in the House to pass it, too.

* Fall 2013 -- House Republicans refused to vote on that bill, calling for a series of bills that would have tackled separately issues like border security and a guest worker program. No action is taken by the time Congress recesses for the holiday, killing the issue in 2013.

* September 2013 -- President Obama on Telemundo rules out executive action to halt deportations, saying the move is "not an option."

* January 2014 -- Republicans come forward with their own principals for what immigration reform should have, stressing that border security comes first and that "we must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement." At the same time in a sign of losing patience, President Obama opens the door to taking executive action on immigration.

* April 2014 -- President Obama tables the idea of an executive order on immigration for now.

* Summer 2014 -- A surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America creates a humanitarian crisis in the U.S. It also adds pressure to the reform debate, pushing President Obama to shift focus away from any executive action.

* November 2014 -- Republicans win a sweeping hold of the House and Senate, changing the make-up of Congress and dimming the President's hopes of finding lawmakers who will be cooperative to any of his plans.