Does Obama have authority for immigration changes?

Obama's Executive Action on Immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's announcement of sweeping changes to the nation's immigration system is likely to lead to a battle over their legality. Is he on solid legal ground?

For months the White House and Obama's supporters have insisted that he has the authority to direct immigration authorities to exercise discretion in deciding which immigrants in the country illegally will face deportation and which won't.

"The actions I'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every Democratic president for the past half century," Obama said Thursday night.

But Republicans in Congress disagree with the White House view. They're calling Obama's plan an unconstitutional power grab.

"The president seems intent on provoking a constitutional crisis by adopting policies that he previously said were illegal," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Congress will act to stop the president's executive actions when his party takes control of the Senate in January.

Among those being protected from deportation under Obama's plan are the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, roughly 4.1 million people.

A senior administration official said Thursday that the decision to protect this group is in line with existing law that allows adult citizens to sponsor their parents for immigration. Obama's plan goes a step further because the sponsoring citizen doesn't have to be an adult. And in such cases, the protection from deportation would be temporary - 3 years. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to be identified by name.

A year after Ronald Reagan and Congress enacted an overhaul that gave legal status to up to 3 million immigrants who had no authorization to be in the country in 1986, Reagan's Immigration and Naturalization Service expanded the program to cover minor children of parents granted amnesty. Spouses and children of couples in which one parent qualified for amnesty but the other did not remained subject to deportation, leading to efforts to amend the 1986 law.

President George H.W. Bush in 1990 established a "family fairness" program in which family members who were living with a legalizing immigrant and who had been in the U.S. before passage of the 1986 law were granted protection from deportation and authorized to seek employment. The administration estimated that up to 1.5 million people would be covered by the policy. Congress later made the protections permanent.

At issue is how far Obama can go on his own to shield from deportation immigrants who are in the country illegally. The administration and its supporters have argued that the use of prosecutorial discretion - the ability to decide which cases will be pursued by prosecutors, either in immigration or criminal court - allows the president to decide which groups of immigrants should be a priority. Obama has argued that he can go one step further and use a provision in immigration law called "deferred action" to formally protect particular immigrants from deportation.

Immigrants granted deferred action are also eligible for work permits.

What the president can't do is halt all deportations, or permanently change the immigration status of any specific group of immigrants. Only Congress has that power.

While Obama's proposals have been cleared by lawyers from both the Homeland Security and Justice departments, some of the Republican governors meeting in Florida this week said they were weighing a lawsuit to block the president's action.

Outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry said a lawsuit was "very likely," and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal suggested they'd be willing to join the legal challenge.

"It should be immediately challenged in court and we should seek an immediate stay," Pence said in an interview.

It's unclear how such a challenge would fare. A lawsuit challenging the 2012 program that protects many young immigrants from deportation was filed in federal court in Texas, but was dismissed on technical grounds.

___

Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Boca Raton, Florida, contributed to this report.

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Does Obama have authority for immigration changes?
US President Barack Obama speaks from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, February 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while delivering remarks on his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Feb. 2, 2015. Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget that would raise taxes on corporations and the nation's top earners, spend more on infrastructure and housing, and stabilize, but not eliminate, the annual budget deficit. Photographer: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Feb. 2, 2015. Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget that would raise taxes on corporations and the nation's top earners, spend more on infrastructure and housing, and stabilize, but not eliminate, the annual budget deficit. Photographer: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Feb. 2, 2015. Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget that would raise taxes on corporations and the nation's top earners, spend more on infrastructure and housing, and stabilize, but not eliminate, the annual budget deficit. Photographer: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, visits the National Operations Center at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before delivering remarks on his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Feb. 2, 2015. Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget that would raise taxes on corporations and the nation's top earners, spend more on infrastructure and housing, and stabilize, but not eliminate, the annual budget deficit. Photographer: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, USA - FEBRUARY 02: US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the Department of Homeland Security about his newly revealed budget and Republicans threat to not approve funding for the agency in Washington, D.C. on February 02, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - FEBRUARY 02: US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the Department of Homeland Security about his newly revealed budget and Republicans threat to not approve funding for the agency in Washington, D.C. on February 02, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - FEBRUARY 02: US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the Department of Homeland Security about his newly revealed budget and Republicans threat to not approve funding for the agency in Washington, D.C. on February 02, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama greets attendees after delivering remarks on his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Feb. 2, 2015. Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget that would raise taxes on corporations and the nation's top earners, spend more on infrastructure and housing, and stabilize, but not eliminate, the annual budget deficit. Photographer: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool via Bloomberg
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Feb. 2, 2015. Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget that would raise taxes on corporations and the nation's top earners, spend more on infrastructure and housing, and stabilize, but not eliminate, the annual budget deficit. Photographer: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 02: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) is greeted Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (L) before speaking at the Department of Homeland Security about the administration's fiscal year 2016 budget request released earlier today February 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. The $4 trillion budget that President Obama sends Congress on Monday proposes higher taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations, and an $478 billion public works program for highway, bridge and transit upgrades. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks on investments in 'precision medicine' on January 30, 2015 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. President Obama on Friday unveiled plans to plow $215 million into 'precision medicine' research, a field he said provided 'boundless' promise for the treatment of diseases like cancer and diabetes.AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: US President Barack Obama walks with Elana Simon, a 19 year old student who won last years White House Science Fair, during an event in the East Room at the White House, January 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the event to highlight investments that improve health and treat disease through precision medicine. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JANUARY 30: President Barack Obama takes a photo with a young girl after speaking about investments to improve health and treat disease through precision medicine in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 30, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JANUARY 30: President Barack Obama hugs Elana Simon, a 19 year old student at Harvard University who met with the President at last years White House Science Fair, before speaking about investments to improve health and treat disease through precision medicine in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 30, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks on investments in 'precision medicine' on January 30, 2015 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. President Obama on Friday unveiled plans to plow $215 million into 'precision medicine' research, a field he said provided 'boundless' promise for the treatment of diseases like cancer and diabetes.AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama addresses the House Democratic Caucus retreat on January 29, 2015 in Philadelphia. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives to address the House Democratic Caucus retreat on January 29, 2015 in Philadelphia. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama addresses the House Democratic Caucus retreat on January 29, 2015 in Philadelphia. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Armed Forces Farewell Ceremony for departing US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson in Arlington, Virginia, January 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - JANUARY 28: U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R) and U.S. President Barack Obama pass each other during Hagel's farewell ceremony at Fort Myer January 28, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. Hagel is stepping down once his replacement, Ashton Carter, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - JANUARY 28: U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (C) embrace as Vice President Joe Biden (R) looks on during Hagel's farewell ceremony at Fort Myer January 28, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. Hagel is stepping down once his replacement, Ashton Carter, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) speaks with departing US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R) during at an Armed Forces Farewell Ceremony for Hagel at Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson in Arlington, Virginia, on January 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses at Siri Fort Auditorium on January 27, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Obama said, 'We believe in the promise of India, we believe in the people of India. We are proud to be your partner as you build the country of your dreams. We are not perfect countries, have known tragedies and triumphs, have lot of challenges, but our two nation posses the key to progress.' He spoke on the topic 'India & America: the future we can build together', describing the numerous opportunities that both countries have to build a constructive partnership. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Barack Obama with his wife Michelle Obama at Siri Fort Auditorium on January 27, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Obama said, 'We believe in the promise of India, we believe in the people of India. We are proud to be your partner as you build the country of your dreams. We are not perfect countries, have known tragedies and triumphs, have lot of challenges, but our two nation posses the key to progress.' He spoke on the topic 'India & America: the future we can build together', describing the numerous opportunities that both countries have to build a constructive partnership. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks to US troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) shakes hands with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) after arriving at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014, to speak to US troops. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 15: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses an audience of armed forces December 15, 2014 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Obama will address the troops to thank them for their service and mark the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan. ahead of the upcoming holidays. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 15: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses an audience of armed forces December 15, 2014 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Obama will address the troops to thank them for their service and mark the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan. ahead of the upcoming holidays. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 15: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses an audience of armed forces December 15, 2014 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Obama will address the troops to thank them for their service and mark the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan. ahead of the upcoming holidays. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama greets US troops after speaking at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 15: Members od U.S. audience of armed forces listen to U.S. President Barack Obama speaks December 15, 2014 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Obama will address the troops to thank them for their service and mark the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan. ahead of the upcoming holidays. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama greets US troops after speaking at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US troops listen as US President Barack Obama speaks at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives to speak to US troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks to US troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15: U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he departs the White House December 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama is scheduled to travel to New Jersey later in the day. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) walks to greet guests after arriving at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014, to speak to US troops. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama departs the White House in Washington, DC, December 15, 2014. Barack Obama is travelling to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to deliver remarks expressing gratitude to the troops for their service and sacrifice. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15: U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he departs the White House December 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama is scheduled to travel to New Jersey later in the day. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama speak onstage at TNT Christmas in Washington 2014 at the National Building Museum on December 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. 25248_002_1209.JPG (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
US President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press before a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House December 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke before a meeting with his Ebola response team. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama takes part in a meeting with the President's Export Council in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. From left: Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney, Obama, and Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama takes part in a meeting with the President's Export Council in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. At left is Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sort toys and gifts for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign on December 10, 2014 at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC. The gifts were donated by staff of the presidential office. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama takes part in a meeting with the President's Export Council in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sort toys and gifts for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign on December 10, 2014 at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC. The gifts were donated by staff of the presidential office. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama, with bags slung over his shoulders, delivers toys and gifts donated by Executive Office of the President staff to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. For 67 years the Toys for Tots program has worked with local communities to collect and distribute toys and gifts for less fortunate children throughout the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: US President Barack Obama (R) and first lady Michelle Obama sort toys and gifts donated by Executive Office of the President staff to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. For 67 years the Toys for Tots program has worked with local communities to collect and distribute toys and gifts for less fortunate children throughout the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama, with bags slung over his shoulders, delivers toys and gifts donated by Executive Office of the President staff to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. For 67 years the Toys for Tots program has worked with local communities to collect and distribute toys and gifts for less fortunate children throughout the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama holds six-month-old William Gettle after he and first lady Michelle Obama delivered toys and gifts donated by Executive Office of the President staff to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. For 67 years the Toys for Tots program has worked with local communities to collect and distribute toys and gifts for less fortunate children throughout the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: US President Barack Obama (L) sets down bags of toys as he and first lady Michelle Obama deliver gifts donated by Executive Office of the President staff to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. For 67 years the Toys for Tots program has worked with local communities to collect and distribute toys and gifts for less fortunate children throughout the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama sorts toys and gifts donated by Executive Office of the President staff to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling on December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. For 67 years the Toys for Tots program has worked with local communities to collect and distribute toys and gifts for less fortunate children throughout the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Early Education at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building December 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke on the expansion of high-quality early education opportunities for children across the country from birth through school entry. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama hugs Alajah Lane, 9, after she introduced him at a White House Summit on early childhood education on December 10, 2014 in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks with Lilia and Carlos Yepez, owners of La Hacienda Mexican restaurant in Nashville on December 9, 2014 before ordering food after he spoke on his executive actions on immigration at the Casa Azafran, a community center and home to a number of immigrant-related nonprofit organizations. Obama's controversial overhaul provides three-year relief for millions of undocumented people who have lived in the country for more than five years and have children that are US citizens or legal residents. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama takes a question after speaking about his recent executive actions on immigration on December 9, 2014 at the Casa Azafran, a community center and home to a number of immigrant-related nonprofit organizations, in Nashville, Tennessee. Obama's controversial overhaul provides three-year relief for millions of undocumented people who have lived in the country for more than five years and have children that are US citizens or legal residents. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama hugs Lilia and Carlos Yepez, owners of La Hacienda Mexican restaurant in Nashville on December 9, 2014 before ordering food after he spoke on his executive actions on immigration at the Casa Azafran, a community center and home to a number of immigrant-related nonprofit organizations. Obama's controversial overhaul provides three-year relief for millions of undocumented people who have lived in the country for more than five years and have children that are US citizens or legal residents. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama addresses community leaders at the Copernicus Community Center in Chicago to discuss executive actions he took on immigration, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Immigration protesters disrupt President Obama's speech to community leaders at the Copernicus Community Center to discuss executive actions he took on immigration, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
President Obama addresses community leaders at the Copernicus Community Center in Chicago to discuss executive actions he took on immigration, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 25: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama discussed the executive actions he is taking to address the country's immigration system. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A protestor holds up a banner as a guest beside her reaches to pull it away as US President Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives on stage to speak on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A protestor holds up a banner as a guest beside her reaches to pull it away as US President Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center on November 25, 2014 in Chicago. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama announces executive actions on U.S. immigration policy during a nationally televised address from the White House, November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama outlined a plan on Thursday to ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants. (Photo by Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama is seen on screens in the White House briefing room during a televised address to the nation November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC on immigration reform. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks while honoring the newest recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. The medals are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government for achievements in science, technology, and innovation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks while honoring the newest recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. The medals are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government for achievements in science, technology, and innovation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
John Schiller (L), of the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, watches as Douglas Lowy (C), of the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, is presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by US President Barack Obama for their work on the HPV vaccine during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to nine people and the National Medal of Science to ten others. The National Medal of Scientists honors individuals for their outstanding contributions in fields such as biology, physics, and math. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation honors the Nations visionary thinkers whose creativity and intellect have made a lasting impact on the US and its workforce. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks while honoring the newest recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. The medals are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government for achievements in science, technology, and innovation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks while honoring the newest recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. The medals are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government for achievements in science, technology, and innovation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Eli Harari, of the SanDisk Corporation, pumps his fists while being awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by US President Barack Obama (C) during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to nine people and the National Medal of Science to ten others. The National Medal of Scientists honors individuals for their outstanding contributions in fields such as biology, physics, and math. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation honors the Nations visionary thinkers whose creativity and intellect have made a lasting impact on the US and its workforce. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama pause while he speaks during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to nine people and the National Medal of Science to ten others. The National Medal of Scientists honors individuals for their outstanding contributions in fields such as biology, physics, and math. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation honors the Nations visionary thinkers whose creativity and intellect have made a lasting impact on the US and its workforce. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
John Schiller (L) and Douglas Lowy (2L) wait to be presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by US President Barack Obama (2ndR) during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to nine people and the National Medal of Science to ten others. The National Medal of Scientists honors individuals for their outstanding contributions in fields such as biology, physics, and math. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation honors the Nations visionary thinkers whose creativity and intellect have made a lasting impact on the US and its workforce. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Douglas Lowy (L), of the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, watches as John Schiller (C), of the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, is presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by US President Barack Obama for their work on the HPV vaccine during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to nine people and the National Medal of Science to ten others. The National Medal of Scientists honors individuals for their outstanding contributions in fields such as biology, physics, and math. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation honors the Nations visionary thinkers whose creativity and intellect have made a lasting impact on the US and its workforce. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to nine people and the National Medal of Science to ten others. The National Medal of Scientists honors individuals for their outstanding contributions in fields such as biology, physics, and math. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation honors the Nations visionary thinkers whose creativity and intellect have made a lasting impact on the US and its workforce. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to nine people and the National Medal of Science to ten others. The National Medal of Scientists honors individuals for their outstanding contributions in fields such as biology, physics, and math. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation honors the Nations visionary thinkers whose creativity and intellect have made a lasting impact on the United States and its workforce. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks while honoring the newest recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. The medals are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government for achievements in science, technology, and innovation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Eli Harari of the SanDisk Corporation (L) thrusts his fist in the air before U.S. President Barack Obama presents him with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in the East Room of the White House November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. According to the White House, Harari was awarded the medal 'for invention and commercialization of Flash storage technology to enable ubiquitous data in consumer electronics, mobile computing, and enterprise storage.' The medals are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government for achievements in science, technology, and innovation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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