There will be masses of articles covering this story all over the internet, it is that important. However, this idiot’s guide to Obama’s actions last night is a good place to start. Using his power of executive authority, Obama has signed immigration reform removing the threat of deportation for 5 million immigrants last night. He argued that he has done this due to Congress failing to reach a bipartisanship agreement on immigration reform in the past six year (see blog posts on immigration and the Gang of 8).
This is an example you cannot afford not to know. Boehner has accused Obama of acting beyond his power – an ‘imperial presidency’ to use the term from Schlesinger – and hinting strongly that he does not have the mandate to act like this given the recent mid-term results. However the Republicans fear being too critical and being seen as anti-Hispanic, a section of the population projected to make up 30% of the US electorate by 2050. Obama, on the other hand, was keen to stress that he has acted in a manner in-keeping with constitutional law, and in the same manner as his predecessors, both Democrat and Republican.
Either way, this is unlikely to do anything to dampen the fires of party polarisation that seem to be so rampant in Washington DC at the moment.
I strongly recommend following this story. Radio 4 did a fantastic piece on this – follow this link and listen from 01:16:20 to 01:19:30- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04pc6kt
Update – To understand what Obama’s executive order does, have a look at this handy flowchart from the Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/22/flow-chart-who-qualifies-for-obamas-immigration-offer/?tid=pm_business_pop