WASHINGTON >> President Barack Obama will travel to Las Vegas Friday, a Democratic official said, heightening anticipation that he will announce executive orders on immigration this week.
The president is expected to take administrative steps to protect as many as 5 million people in the country illegally from deportation, and grant them work permits. Republicans are vehemently opposed to the president’s likely actions, with some conservative members threatening to pursue a government shutdown if Obama follows through on his promises to act on immigration before the end of the year.
The White House would not confirm Obama’s travel plans or the purpose for the visit. In 2013, the president visited Las Vegas’ Del Sol High School, which has a large population of non-English speaking students, to unveil his blueprint for comprehensive immigration legislation.
A wide-ranging immigration bill passed the Senate, but stalled in the Republican-led House. Obama vowed this summer to instead pursue changes to the immigration system using his presidential administrative authority, but delayed the measures until after the midterm elections, in part because of concerns from some Democrats facing tough races.
Democrats still lost control of the Senate in the midterm balloting.
Astrid Silva, an organizer for the group Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said the president "has a duty to keep his promise and use his full legal authority to take action where Congress has failed." The group said the White House has been in touch with Nevada activists about the trip.
The Democratic official insisted on anonymity because this person wasn’t authorized to confirm the president’s trip by name.
Associated Press writers Erica Werner in Washington and Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas contributed to this report.