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Parties Push to Sway Public Before Obama's Immigration Speech

WASHINGTON — The fight to sway public opinion about President Obama’s soon-to-be-announced executive action on immigration was intensifying before the president’s scheduled address to the nation on Thursday evening from the East Room of the White House.

Mr. Obama is expected to announce that he will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation and provide many of them permits to work legally in the United States. Mr. Obama has said he intends to act on his own in the face of Republican opposition to immigration legislation.

Conservative critics of the president were accusing him of a vast abuse of power, while immigration advocates and Democratic supporters praised Mr. Obama for asserting his authority on behalf of millions of undocumented immigrants.

“I believe his unilateral action, which is unconstitutional and illegal, will deeply harm our prospects for immigration reform,” Mr. Cornyn said. “It will be deeply harmful to our nation’s tradition of the rule of law and deeply harmful to the future of our democracy.”

Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, a fierce opponent of Mr. Obama’s actions, accused the president of “throwing this nation into a crisis.” And Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, warned that the president’s speech could set off violent reactions among Americans who disagree with it.

“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Mr. Coburn said in an interview with USA Today. “You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. You could see violence.”

Republicans pledged to try to stop Mr. Obama. But as the president’s speech approached, it was unclear whether his adversaries had settled on a legal or legislative strategy to block him. Several Republican lawmakers said they did not want to shut down the government or fail to pass a budget in the coming days.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to play with shutting down the government over a particular issue, if you disagree with the president,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma.

Defenders of Mr. Obama’s executive action were just as urgent. Speaking on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday after the president’s speech was announced, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, said Mr. Obama’s actions would help the economy by keeping immigrant families together.

“If we don’t act, the dire situation of undocumented immigrants will only get worse, families will continue to be torn apart, people will continue to live in the shadows,” Ms. Boxer said. “I say to the president today, as I have said to him in writing, if you act, you will have my strong support, and you will have the support of so many people across the country.”

Representative Ben Ray Luján, Democrat of New Mexico, said he supported Mr. Obama’s actions even as he continued to hope that Republicans would eventually join Democrats in passing a bipartisan overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

“Until that time, the president’s legal action will ensure that millions of men and women who work hard and pay taxes can now stay with their families,” Mr. Luján said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Obama planned to travel to Las Vegas on Friday, where he is expected to appear at a high school alongside Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader. The decision by the president to rally support for his actions with Mr. Reid by his side should give the Nevada senator a boost with the many Latinos who live in that state.

“This is personal to me,” Mr. Reid said in a statement, adding that he has been disappointed that Republicans have “ducked, dodged and skirted” taking up legislation, forcing Mr. Obama to act administratively. “There is no better place than Nevada for President Obama to outline the actions he is taking.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/us/obama-immigration-speech.html?_r=0

President Obama will be addressing the nation tonight at 8pm to announce his executive action plan on immigration. The Miami immigration lawyers at Revilla Law Firm, P.A., will be following this story very closely and are available to answer any questions you may have about how this immigration plan could impact your status. For more information about this issue or any immigration matter, contact our immigration attorneys for a free in-office consultation in our Miami office.