After months of indicating that his administration was powerless to effectuate change concerning current deportation policies, President Barack Obama has recently called for review of current deportation policies and how they are enforced.
Obama has appointed his homeland security chief, Jeh Johnson, to review the current U.S. deportation program and find a more humane way to enforce the law without overstepping its bounds. This call to review comes on the heels of a recent meeting between Obama and lead members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Xavier Becerra (D-California), Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) and Luis Gutierrez (D-California).
Feelings were optimistic after the meeting with President Obama with Representative Gutierrez saying, “It is clear that the pleas from the community got through to the president,” adding that the White House had been “dormant for too long.”
Despite this ordered review of the nation’s current deportation program, Obama still insists that his administration’s options are very limited and have essentially reached their peak so long as Congress remains unable and unwilling to pass comprehensive reform. President Obama voiced that, “The main step I’m trying to take is to make sure that we pass new laws so that we do not have to deport these folks at all.”
All in all, the President is looking for a long-term, legally founded solution to this all too common family immigration law issue.
Obama has had a long battle with deportation, hoping to have had a bill passed on the issue some time in 2013. With minor successes in 2012 and 2013, it was hoped and believed that more action would have been taken.
In 2012 the Obama administration halted the deportation of “Dreamers,” children of undocumented immigrants. This was followed by another change in policy in August of 2013 when Obama issued a policy effectively telling immigration agents to utilize “prosecutorial discretion” in enforcing immigration laws by attempting to avoid deporting illegal immigrant parents of minor children.
Although Obama’s deportation focus is seemingly geared to crack down more on illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds and egregious immigration law violators and less on non-criminal illegal immigrants, Republicans have taken Obama’s recent policy changes as an attempt to circumvent current immigration laws.
With the recent passing of the ENFORCE Act, a bill effectuated to protect the separation of powers in the Constitution by ensuring that the President takes care that the laws of the land be faithfully executed, Congress now has the power to sue the executive branch for not effectively following the letter of the law, a power that could come to hurt the Obama administration’s chances at seeing reform in current immigration laws.
Republicans warn that any steps that President Obama takes to side-step congress in order to reach his administration’s immigration reform goals would put a damper on any chances of overhauling any of the current immigration laws, assuredly guaranteeing opposition in a Republican-majority House.
Although Republicans recognize there is an issue with the current immigration laws as they currently stand, there is a firm position that “until [the immigration system] is reformed through the democratic process, the President is obligated to enforce the laws we have,” said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) spokesman Brendan Buck.
When asked to circumvent Congress and utilize his executive powers, the President voiced that he “needed a new law that would put everyone on a new legal footing. And we’ve got to keep pressure on Congress to get that done.”
Murray Osorio PLLC are Fairfax Immigration Lawyers dedicated to their clients and to their clients’ families. If you have an immigration matter, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible. An experienced Fairfax Immigration Lawyer could make all the difference- call us at (703) 952-3275, or fill out our contact form.