Obama Going It Alone on Immigration

President to announce executive order in speech tonight.
5:38 | 11/20/14

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Transcript for Obama Going It Alone on Immigration
President Obama act in defiance of the people and imposes their wool the country. Comical. We're considering a variety of options. But meg almost. And almost. When the newly elected representative of people vigorously. They life. The president's plan hasn't been announced yet but the fight is already. Brewing hello when I'm Dan Cutler in new York and that of course with senator and soon to be majority leader Mitch McConnell. On president Obama's expected announcement to use executive action to give nearly five million immigrants legal status. In the United States but what does that all mean when the president's plan is put in place. So with more on how it will all work I want to bring in our political director Rick Klein from Washington DC and Rick I wanna start from the top what is the first thing that happens. After the president makes that speech tonight. Dancing start moving on two tracks one is on the executive level. It executive order has the force of law even though it's not approved by congress it will be distributed to congress that will be an official notification when the president makes that. Executive order signing most likely tomorrow at an event in Las Vegas and then there's another track and that's the congressional reaction track. That's re hear from senator McConnell about the whole range of options that are being considered. Everything from a voter disapproval to a vote to defund enforcement. To a vote to repeal this to even people talking now about potentially trying to impeach the president that's just fringe top for now it's not gonna happen but there's going to be a massive effort to try to undo this even as. The executive branch means the world and to life all the agencies beginning to enact an extremely complicated set of Iraq that's the reaction immediately after the president makes that speech tonight a five million how we did that number even come about. Lot of debate about how big this number would be there's an estimated eleven or twelve million. Undocumented immigrants in this country less than half of them would be potentially impacted. By this that there's two big buckets that think about here. One is existing programs right now there are high tech visas that are available to workers is also the so called DREAM Act that's available to people. Who were brought here. As youngsters before they were of of age and had no no control over the fact there are brought here. The president has already granted them some kind of a form of legalized status that will be extended. Too in more people is about a million people as part of that the much bigger deal is about. Four million people who've been here came as undocumented immigrants who came here will isn't lacking in Everett's they've been here for five years or more they have not had any criminal troubles those folks will be for the first time. Able to. Make themselves known to the federal government and apply for some kind of a work permit under brand new programs that's you get the five million you have a whole bunch of existing programs or expanded. And these new big movement with a president's gonna say we're not going to be enforcing immigration laws essentially against people who have been here for more than five years Rhett Wilson now on a timetable of the speeches made the details of the announcement are out there soon in January new congress is sworn in. How does and this go into effect six months from now. We'll six months is when most of these programs actually go into effect and this is going to be complicated we see how the federal government reacts at banks and is ultimately for this no one knows exactly how it will work. It extends across agencies the department of justice Department of Homeland Security to Labor Department. Maybe even the secretary of State's office they're all gonna have some peace of this pie and they're gonna have to the next couple of months figure out a process for undocumented immigrants people who were not in this country on a legal basis did not come here legally to raise their hands volunteer that information to the federal government provide the documentation of what they have. Begins even physically fill all the forms that don't exist yet. Two to allow for this kind of work status and a potentially. Be employed. In the workforce and it's all complicated by a bunch of factors one is you're gonna have this churning on Capitol Hill and among Republicans tried to stop funding for this to go forward to try to stop. This from going to affect at all to have court challenges it could end up before the Supreme Court. And there's going to be promises on the 2016 campaign trail to undo all this you have this whole universe of people who were not going to have any kind of a finalize status even with the president's action. Five million that is the target by the administration but what if in fact no one comes forward once this is announced I don't legally no one but I don't know that it will be five million either. That's the number the advocacy groups put here but there's going to be a good number of folks who say you know what. I think get along just fine without help telling the federal government about me and I'm glad that the president's doing this I'm sure bought. There's no guarantee that the next president. Particularly if the Republican president will allow it to happen so you're asking people who are used to living in sort of the shadows of American society to come forward put their name analyst NC affirmatively to the federal government yes I came here illegally. That is going to sound like a deportation analysts to a large number of people it comes up every ten years with the Census Bureau census workers say please let let mobile county we will tell anyone about you. And millions are document document immigrants say we're not all of that so I think it's going to be a challenge to get these people to actually come out of the shadows and take advantage of the program I think there was of course they'll be some people who do what they see some benefit in doing it but it is going to be a real question as to how many people at the end of the day. It's actually helps. A historic announcement of course we all will be watching our political director recliner Washington DC Rick thanks much for your time and here it's not always appreciate that. Thanks and we will be airing the president's speech tonight right here on ABC news digital and you can keep up with the story in real time. By downloading the ABC news happened starring this story for exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm down that's learn New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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