Impeachable? Here Are 18 Immigration Executive Orders Issued by Recent Republican Presidents

Presidents Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, Bush and Bush all altered immigration law by executive action, yet none were impeached


Republicans claim that that Pres. Obama’s plan to establish temporary legal status for undocumented immigrants by executive order is illegal.

Read the full report from the American Immigration Council: Executive Grants of Temporary Immigration Relief, 1956-Present

They have issued a series of threats against the president if he signs the order to stand up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, including blocking the nomination of attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch, shutting down the government again and/or impeaching him.

According to a detailed report from the American Immigration Council, however, presidents have routinely altered immigration policies by executive order, including 18 such changes by five recent Republican presidents — Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. None of these presidents was threatened with political reprisal for signing the orders, of course.

Here is an overview based on the AIC report:

Pres. Dwight Eisenhower:


By executive order, circumvented immigration quotas to allow 900 orphans to join their adoptive families in the U.S.


By executive order, allowed 31,000 Hungarian anti-Soviet insurgents to emigrate.


By executive order, allowed 600,000 Cubans fleeing Castro to emigrate. [PDF]

Pres. Gerald Ford:


By executive order, allowed 360,000 refugees, mostly from from Vietnam, to emigrate.


By executive order, allowed 14,000 Lebanese nationals to emigrate.

Pres. Ronald Reagan:


By executive order, allowed 7,000 Polish anti-Communists to emigrate.


Allowed 15,000-plus Ethiopians to emigrate.


By executive order, rescinded deportation of 200,000 Nicaraguans.


By executive order, deferred deportation of undocumented children of 100,000 families. [JSTOR]

George H.W. Bush:


By executive order, deferred deportations of Chinese students.


By executive order, reversed visa denials of 7,000 Soviets, Indochinese.


By executive order, deferred deporations of previously amnestied citizens’ 1.5 million spouses and children.


By executive order, deferred deportation of 2,000 Gulf War evacuees.


By executive order, deferred deportations of 190,000 El Salvadorans.

George W. Bush:


By executive order, expedited naturalization for green-card holders who joined military.


By executive order, deferred deportation of students affected by Hurricane Katrina.


By executive order, enabled 1,500 Cuban physicians to seek asylum at US embassies.


By executive order, deferred deportation of 3,600 Liberians.


  • Esse Quam Videri
    November 22, 2014 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Wow. A tea bagger learned a new word. That sort of makes the whole controversy worthwhile. But, yes, the president has ordered ICE to prioritize their investigations to put deporting drug dealers and people with arrest records ahead of deporting mothers and fathers of children born in this country — to “defer” deportation of parents over deportation of drug dealers. This is not “amnesty,” as the lying liars you get your info said it was.

    Reagan deferred deportations of mostly Mexican children in 1987, and Bush deferred deportations of mostly Mexican children and spouses in 1990. Same exact thing.

    All executive orders can be revoked by the next president, so the fastest way for you folks to get these mothers and fathers deported is to elect Canadian-born Ted Cruz president in 2016. Wait, didn’t Cruz’ foreign-born father get his citizenship through an amnesty?

  • BRB
    November 22, 2014 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Scary how many ignorant, ill-informed, racist people are commenting here….guess I won’t be back.

  • November 22, 2014 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Please stop letting politicians herd all of you like blind cattle. This article does not have one piece of truth in it. Don’t believe me, I can show you black and white proof..if you read that BS and believe any of it, you should look at this and at least know the truth so that you can arrive at an educated opinion on the subject knowing all the true facts. The government can only continue to function, as it now does, if the mass public is ignorant of what is going on. End the ignorance. jon-ponder-is-fraud-no-prior-eos.html

  • November 22, 2014 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Was Obama’s action legal? His reasons for doing it or your feelings on immigration, whatever they are, does not matter. We have a Constitution that runs this country, not a single man. No matter the circumstances, acting as a vigilante, emperor or any other word you want to use is not excusable. As Obama stated himself “We are a nation of laws”. I guess those laws just don’t apply to him. obamas-executive-order-was-it-legal.html

  • Thomas Kotkowski
    November 23, 2014 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    I would like to thank the author of the article, Jon Ponder, for PROVING Republicans are NOT anti immigration or racist.

    Jon Ponder, you just proved that the Republicans, even Reagan and Bush, were allowing immigrants to stay here long before they were accused of being racist and anti immigration therefor PROVING the Democrat talking points to be the lies that they clearly are.

    In this day and age of character assassination based on lies it is refreshing that some journalists are willing to break away from the Democrat talking points and tell the truth about the inclusive nature of the Republican party.

    Thank you again Jon Ponder for your HONESTY!

  • November 23, 2014 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    This executive action is only for work permits. People with work permits are legally present, but do not have legal status and cannot receive food stamps or Medicaid. The executive order also specifically will not allow them access to ACA “obamacare” health coverage. This order just defers or puts on hold their deportation, so that resources can be directed to deporting criminals and recent entrants.

  • E. Hanson
    November 23, 2014 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Those 5 pres. allowed <2 mil. into this country. Most refugees from their own gov. Most of those named did not inter by climbing a fence or wading a river. They came through immigration.
    O is allowing 4+ mil. in.
    But for those 5 pres. check to see how many left in 'Operation wetback' during Ike's time. You may find it's a neg. no. for them.

  • E. Hanson
    November 23, 2014 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Operation Wetback.

    WASHINGTON — George W. Bush isn’t the first Republican president to face a full-blown immigration crisis on the US-Mexican border.

    Fifty-three years ago, when newly elected Dwight Eisenhower moved into the White House, America’s southern frontier was as porous as a spaghetti sieve. As many as 3 million illegal migrants had walked and waded northward over a period of several years for jobs in California, Arizona, Texas, and points beyond.

    President Eisenhower cut off this illegal traffic. He did it quickly and decisively with only 1,075 United States Border Patrol agents – less than one-tenth of today’s force.

  • Jennifer
    November 23, 2014 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    But the question remains: How many of these previous presidents went around Congress to write legislation on their own? Much of the information you quoted had congressional approval. Another thing everyone likes to forget is the MANY bills passed by the REPUBLICAN house that Harry Reid allowed to die. I wish just ONE journalist would have the balls to present all of the argument, and not just a few biased details.

  • Eddie Bryan
    November 23, 2014 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Illegal immigrants are here illegally as one poster said but they are taken advantage of by businesses who make money off of them paying them below minimum wage. That’s a fact.
    I would like to compare them to the illegal marijuana trade in this country. It’s here, people are making money off of it even if it is illegal. Why not make it legal? If it could be done by executive order I would be all for it.

  • Chester
    November 23, 2014 - 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Obama has screwed up so many things that I automatically mistrust anything he does. And there is a difference between a few thousand or hundred thousand and as many as 20 million.

  • Bob
    November 24, 2014 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Nowhere in his speech nor in this article or in the E.O. was there a word of Amnesty. I guess its for the jaded glass wearing folks. But i did see the words TEMPORARY with condition to qualify…again jaded ignorant read what they want to push their fiction.

    When pushed to provide proof of their fiction they get angry. Just like little kids at school.

  • November 24, 2014 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I have posted comments a couple of times on this article. As I continue to view comments on this article and others that are similar, I am both amazed and at the same time saddened by the very passionate ignorance of the masses.

    Why are so many, so willing to give blind acceptance of fact to all they see or hear?

    This country is literally herded in any wanted direction by the views and words of the few, that the many falsely believe and follow as intended.

    Do you really think you have a voice in government as intended by our Founding Fathers and written into our Constitution?

    If any issue that is important to us does not fit into what is in the best interest of the dominating party, whether that party be Democratic or Republican, it will never happen.

    Nothing will ever improve as long as the masses remain ignorant.

    I have written many articles on my blog that are based on fact. They have been written in an attempt to open all eyes and end the ignorance. Any fact that I have stated in any article I have written can be verified as such by a little simple search on the net yourself at official government document filings and looking at historical facts.

    What do you have to lose by looking at some of these articles and educating yourselves?

    I am not claiming to know all or have all the answers. What I can tell you is that I have studied the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and the US Constitution. I hope all of you will do the same. If you do not know the history of this country and understand the meaning behind the Constitution, you have no right to voice an uneducated opinion on how this country should or shouldn’t operate.

    • HopeForTheFuture
      August 9, 2016 - 12:39 am | Permalink

      Actually they do have the right to voice an Uneducated opinion, even if they are not too familiar w those said documents. It’s called the 1st Amendment.

  • Pingback: Obama's Lawless Amnesty and Obamacare, Connecting the Dots: The Teri O'Brien Show, 11-23-14 | Teri O'Brien - America's Original Conservative Warrior Princess

  • November 25, 2014 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    not one of them are black it’s alright

  • Rick
    November 25, 2014 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    These immigrants need to to make a stand against their government and make things right in their country instead of being a bunch of sisies and running across the border with their tail between their legs
    We did it when england wanted to over tax us and tried to screw us on tobacco and cotton prices
    So stand up against a corrupt government it is your country change it to make it better

  • December 1, 2014 - 4:57 pm | Permalink


    “We did it…” Were you there? I doubt it, and I doubt any of your descendants were there; if so, you are a descendant of an immigrant. “Stand up against a corrupt government…” Well, Hitler sure took care of them. This isn’t the mid/late 1700’s. Different times. Read some history; a dictionary would help too. I am an immigrant. Thanks to Hitler’s desire to rid the world of Polish people, my mother was captured at 13 years of age. She was a slave laborer, and then, a displaced person from the end of WWII until we came to the states in 1951. I was born in a DP camp.

  • Dennis
    December 8, 2014 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    I read where a lot of those orders were executed in conjunction with Congress. OKenyan is going rougue.

    • December 12, 2014 - 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Dennis, Dennis, Dennis — so sad. Executive orders are, by definition, never done with Congress.

  • its all gray in DC
    December 8, 2014 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

    come on man those crops your talking about was tended by who (people that was forced from their contry into slavery to work those fields) its funny someone could take credit for work that was done by someone else. each exec order provided amnesty to a perticular group and each order had supporters and non-supporters. I dont think this one is any different. Im sure that each side can find somethings that skupports their stance. Yes you are correct, we must protect our boarders and ensure that the system and or the policies that have been signed into law are followed. I dont think any president makes an off-the-cuff decissions without properly cusulting with a leagel team (that which you pay for) so i think a more constructive qustion would be how do we fix the issue. its interesting to see how our ellective officials get us all spunned up on an issues and we forget to look for solutions. we are bigger than than that give me a solution something we can agree on to fix this mess. this isnt block germany as you can see there are somepeople that was given amesty during that era,

  • Bill
    January 15, 2015 - 12:41 am | Permalink

    Obama’s EO is not unconstitutional and has precedence. The previous presidents also by-passed Congress and there were no negotiations with Congress. Obama said deferred deportation, not amnesty or citizenship, which they can apply for, but “go to the back of the line.” He tried to work with Congress, gave them an immigration bill, but the worst do-nothing GOP in our history sat on it for 18 months. He acted after they didn’t, just like they vowed to do. The racist based comments in this article are mind-boggling and scary. Today, January 14, 2015, the GOP controlled House passed a bill to end Obama’s Executive Order, either voluntarily, or they’ll defund Homeland Security. Our country faces terrorist attacks, physical and cyber, but the GOP isn’t concerned because they’re motivated by political control, not by any concerns for fairness, welfare of American citizens, nor our security.

  • john oneill
    January 19, 2015 - 6:54 am | Permalink

    Here’s hoping the president rescinds this action and in it’s place uses his CONSTITUTIONALLY given power to pardon these people instead!!

  • Bud Ruff
    January 19, 2015 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Sorry to tell you uninformed Republicans, all these Executive Orders by Republican Presidents did not go and work throught Congress. By the way, this article even left out President
    Reagan amnesty to 3 million illegal Mexican immigrants in 186/87–giving them a path to US citizenship. Hypocrites.

  • Ron Yankovich
    February 4, 2015 - 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Rather than speculate what Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration entails, I offer the details as published by the department which will implement the changes. This is from the US Immigration Services Website.

    On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

    These initiatives include:

    Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to people of any current age who entered the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years. USCIS will begin accepting requests for expanded DACA on February 18, 2015
    Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents* program, provided they have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and pass required background checks
    Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
    Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs to grow our economy and create jobs
    Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

  • Betsy Ansel
    February 17, 2015 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    So let me get this straight, a bunch of crazy rightwingers are saying that the number of people this deferment would cover is the problem? So, if these Republicans and I were all not allowed to take any cookies from the cookie jar, except by express permission of a higher authority who owns hte cookies and the cookie jar, and if I take 2 and they take one, I’m wrong because I took one more? Not if the higher authority didn’t enumerate the number we were allowed to have. A law is a law, a treaty is a treaty, no matter HOW many people it covers.

  • Allen
    February 18, 2015 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen a democrat or progressive that knew any truth.

    • Madison
      February 20, 2015 - 8:33 am | Permalink

      I haven’t seen a Republican or conservative who didn’t lie, lie, lie.

  • Mark
    February 27, 2015 - 5:15 pm | Permalink

    The five mentions Presidents did not make executive orders that harm Americans, Obama wants to open boarders and let anyone come across without “venting” them. So isis can in effect come across pretending to be from Mexico, Columbia, Honduras Ect, … And disappear anywhere within our boarders to strike when they please. So yea, executive orders have come at the hands of other Preisdents but Obama’s executive orders can kill America, so that makes what he is doing far more worst than any other President in history.

    • February 27, 2015 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Mark, the Five lies because they know their viewers are simple people who are easily duped. The executive order has nothing to do with allowing people to enter the country. It is strictly about delaying deportation of the certain people, just as the similar executive orders by Eisenhower, Reagan and the Bushes did. Here’s what Pres. Obama’s executive order will do:

      It will offer a legal reprieve to the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who’ve resided in the country for at least five years. This will remove the constant threat of deportation. Many could also receive work permits.

      It will expand the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allowed young immigrants, under 30 years old, who arrived as children to apply for a deportation deferral and who are now here legally. Immigrants older than 30 now qualify, as do more recent arrivals.

      But while we have you — it’s spelled “borders,” not “boarders,” and it’s “vetting,” not “venting.”

  • Cedric thomas
    February 28, 2015 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    He’s doing his job,respect the office

  • Pingback: Morning Feature – Systems and Conditions: The Constitution and Gridlock | BPI Campus

  • outright
    March 14, 2015 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I do hope Republicans don’t fight this too hard if they expect to get voted in in 2016 as the Hispanic vote is going to be one of the major deciding factors.

  • Janie
    March 18, 2015 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    Please the other presidents had good reason like those serving the military, amnesty, evacuees. The Obama led immigration is for any and all who unlawfully entered and did not go through legal channels for fleeing their country. They shouldn’t have been sneaking in and want all our benefits without caring about becoming a true citizen. If they had of gone through the correct way there would be no problem!

  • Leave a Reply to Jennifer Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *