Before the end of the summer, President Barack Obama is expected to announce major changes in how some undocumented immigrants who face deportation will be treated, a policy shift that is sure to draw both praise and criticism from all sides of the immigration debate.
Immigrant rights activists have been chanting outside the White House every week now for the past month, hoping to push Obama to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants, those who have been here for years and the children and mothers recently detained at the border.
Activists may get some of what they want: the White House is working on a set of steps that could grant protection from deportation to some undocumented immigrants, anywhere from half a million to as many as five million.
This is a response to the Republican-led House of Representatives, which has stalled comprehensive immigration reform proposals in general and specifically anything that could eventually legalize the status of millions of undocumented immigrants.
But the unstated quo in that quid is a resolution to the crisis of border children. The White House is taking steps to expedite deportation hearings for the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and single mothers with children recently detained on the border, something many conservative Republicans have demanded.
Theresa Alvillar Speake chairs the Virginia Hispanic Advisory Council for the Republican National Committee, a group tasked with mobilizing Hispanics to vote and hopefully join the GOP. The former Bush appointee says she is sympathetic to the unaccompanied children and they must be taken care of, but adds, "We have laws in this country and they need to be reunited with their parents wherever those parents are."
When Alvillar Speake was asked about undocumented parents living in Virginia who paid for their children to be smuggled here, she stated, "Those parents that are here should have been with their children, not having them coming across by themselves."