On immigration, President Obama has decided to take on Republicans poised to control the House and Senate in the next Congress.
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In a prime-time address on Thursday, Obama will announce executive actions that could give legal status to millions of immigrants that are in the country illegally.
The White House could have decided to punt on the issue, given the losses suffered by Democrats in the midterm elections.
Indeed, even some Democrats had suggested that would be wise, given battles this month over funding the government, and it might have been taken as an olive branch by Republicans.