Published: July 28, 2014
First, some important facts.
Last year, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to allow for the legalization of the vast majority of our nation’s undocumented population, now estimated at around 12 million. The House of Representatives, through its Republican leadership, refuses to hold a vote on the legislation for a variety of reasons, most notably because it would likely pass into law and give Obama a win.
There is no plan to round up and deport all or any substantial portion of the 12 million undocumented. The President has indeed enforced our immigration laws, specifically in the deportation realm and at levels beyond any of his modern day Republican and Democratic predecessors.
Ever since President Reagan pushed through the most recent legislative- based amnesty program in 1986, a de facto amnesty has been in place for the vast majority of non-criminal immigration law violators. That is, with some exceptions, it’s been the general rule for the past 25+ years that non-criminal, immigration law violators have been pretty much left alone by immigration law enforcement.
So what to do NOW with our society’s accumulated population of civil immigration law breakers?
In leiu of the no-go solutions of A) a mass round up of undocumented folks, or B) legislative action to create a path to legalization, or citizenship….or comprehensive immigration reform…or amnesty, or whatever you want to call it, President Obama will likely avail of the temporary, executive immigration device known as “Deferred Action.”
Deferred Action has been around a long time, and it’s exercised in the discretion of immigration authorities when it comes to processing of undocumented or deportable individuals it comes into contact with. The executive tool was the basis of the program recently instituted by the Obama administration to allow certain “childhood arrivals” to obtain renewable employment authorization documents. It’s no path to permanent residence, or citizenship, but rather leads to issuance of a document that establishes an individual’s authorization to work in the U.S., an activity that the vast majority of this population is doing already, but via some other creative, unconventional arrangement, e.g. working under someone else’s name, someone else’s social security number, or for cash. Like the approved “childhood arrival” applicants, these folks can come out of the shadows, obtain a social security number, more easily pay taxes, purchase homes, legally obtain driver’s licenses and otherwise, participate freely and lawfully in a society they have no intention of abandoning – at least not until immigration enforcement folks put a gun to their heads.
Back to some talk of the alternatives: Although we can never know anything for certain, I can say almost as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, that there will NOT be a mass deportation round up. Certainly such a plan is theoretically possible, assuming there’s enough popular backing and an appropriate government spending commitment. But it’s generally safe to say it will never happen…….and for a multitude of reasons.
And about legislation again, Republican hard liners say “we must secure the border” before any talk of immigration legislation can move forward. Republican hard liners say “Obama cannot be trusted to enforce our laws…..thus we cannot move forward with comprehensive immigration reform.” Republican hard liners, and some soft liners, say Obama is the cause of the current border crisis involving unaccompanied minors from Central America.
In sum, there is not much Obama is not blamed for, and because “it” is all his fault, our country does not deserve to have a measure implemented to address the 12 million dollar, I mean undocumented, question. Essentially, it’s politics that make it impossible for any legislative remedy to be put in place. Accordingly, as he did with the childhood arrivals, Obama will soon be turning to an “executive” remedy, a remedy that our President sees as included within the bucket of executive powers afforded to him by the U.S. Constitution when it comes to the enforcement of, or prioritization thereof, our immigration laws.
Whether 5 million, 7 million or all 12 million will benefit from such a program, rest assured, our nation will in all likelihood see a huge political war break out, not unlike the one we saw with the roll out of Obama-care. In response to such Executive action, we can expect Republican interest groups to file Federal lawsuits accusing Obama of exceeding his Executive powers, although their likelihood for success will not be terribly high. On an even more sensational level, there is also a distinct possibility for the loud and possibly strong support for the commencement of impeachment proceedings against President Obama.
Yes, by the end of the summer, it will be high noon in Washington.
PUBLISHED July 28, 2014– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2014, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois