On Wednesday, an executive order will come into effect that could prevent the deportation of up to 1.5 million young illegal immigrants, Chris Matthews reported on Tuesday's Hardball. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which President Obama created by executive order in mid-June, makes it so that eligible immigrants can apply to defer deportation and obtain work permits.
Eligible immigrants are those who arrived illegally in the United States before they were 16 years old, are now between the ages of 15 and 30, and have been living in the United States for at least five years. Additionally, they must be either students, high school graduates, or honorably discharged service members.
Obama's executive order was intended to mimic the effects of the DREAM Act, a piece of proposed legislation which would have also granted exemption from deportation for eligible illegal immigrants. That legislation passed the House, but never made it through the Senate.
NBC News contributor Victoria DeFranceso Soto said that Obama created the deferred action program in order to mobilize Latino supporters in the upcoming election.
"The President needs Latinos to turn out," she said. "He doesn't have a problem with their favorability; Latinos have consistently approved of the President. But what he needs is them to be enthusiastic getting out to the polls come November."