SAN ANTONIO – President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to take executive action on immigration reform Thursday night.
The move could protect as many as 5 million people from deportation.
The Republican take is that Obama is going around Congress, and while former presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush had issued executive orders to a congressional immigration bill passed in 1986, those orders were issued as "adjustments."
"Executive orders essentially have the force of law and only Congress could push back against the president with veto-proof majorities to stop him from doing anything," said Walter Wilson, University of Texas at San Antonio political science associate professor. "The president is probably going to do what he wants to do in this case."
In this case, Wilson said the president's plan does not necessarily grant residency. Instead, Obama is deciding not to enforce deportation laws against nonviolent individuals who have children who are citizens.
While there are many who oppose Obama stepping over Congress, some people said they support the president's decision.
"I'm glad he's doing it," said Narciso Cano. "And I just hope that he's able to pull it off."
"Congress had its chance," said Anthony Amesquita. "He's the president and whoever voted for him, voted for him to be able to execute these executive orders."
Whether you agree with the president's plan or not, Wilson said it just may push Congress to make a move.
"What you see with regard to people being upset about his use of executive power is really more partisan politics than anything," said Wilson. "I do think that it's unfortunate that there hasn't been more agreement, and maybe this will push for some congressional compromise on this issue."