WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s advisers knew he was taking a political risk when he entered the Rose Garden in June 2012 to announce plans for allowing young undocumented immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” to stay in the country and work without the threat of being deported.
Obama’s announcement amounted to a last resort, a sweeping use of executive power in the face of opposition from a Republican Congress. All presidents have used their authority to unilaterally change policies, but it had never been tried on immigration at this scope — granting deportation relief and renewable, two-year work permits to hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
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Five years later, Deferred Action