President Obama is reportedly preparing to announce a series of executive actions on immigration in the first few weeks of September.  “Have no doubt, in the absence of congressional action, I’m going to do what I can to make sure the system works better,” the president told reporters at the White House yesterday.  The Senate last year approved a comprehensive immigration bill, but the Republican-controlled House would not take up the legislation. Once all legislative efforts on possible immigration reform collapsed this summer, President Obama announced in June that he was looking at “additional actions my administration can take on our own, within my existing legal authorities, to do what Congress refuse to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can.”

The administration previously stitched together a diverse array of interest groups last year to help push for immigration reform in Congress. Now, White House aides have said the administration has held 20 meetings in the past two months to solicit input from some of those stakeholders. The White House emphasized that no final decisions have been made, but President Obama “believes it’s important to understand and consider the full range of perspectives on this issue,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Shawn Turner.

The White House is considering proposals from business and immigrant rights groups that are pressing President Obama to relieve pressure on some of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants and to consider measures that would streamline the legal immigration system by reducing huge backlogs of foreigners hoping to obtain legal permanent residency; provide hundreds of thousands of green cards for high-tech workers and the relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents; and could possibly include plans to defer deportations of millions of people.

“We believe that the theme for the package of changes you undertake administratively should be focused on opening the legal immigration system for more to benefit,” a coalition of businesses and immigrant rights groups, led by former congressman Bruce Morrison (D-CT), wrote in a letter to the White House this week.

Satisfying the demands of various groups could provide the White House valuable political support at a time when Democrats face a fierce fight to maintain control of the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections. Some of these groups consider the president’s pending announcement on executive actions the best chance to achieve their goals before he leaves office in early 2017.  At the same time, President Obama most likely will be criticized for overstepping his legal authority as Republicans attempt to gin up public opposition to the president’s use of executive power.

The proposals outside groups are pushing center around changing the way the government counts the number of foreigners who are granted green cards. Under the law, 226,000 green cards are reserved for family reunification and 140,000 for employment in specialized fields.  These numbers were established by Congress in 1990.