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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Obama's Options for Dealing with Deportations

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As the Administration works to deflect the negative publicity associated with passing two million deportations since 2009 and after finally admitting that the White House DOES have options at it's disposal, many are now speculating what the President might do.

But even before he acts, he has to weigh what any action might do as far as helping or hurting the prospects for immigration reform legislation passing in the House. Even though it's largely disingenuous, House members are blaming the President as being untrustworthy and therefore passing reform legislation that depends on the President to carry out new enforcement measures will have to wait. Of course, the main reason Republicans are interested in compromising on immigration reform is to repair the damage to their brand with Hispanic voters. So it seems rather odd that they want to continue to make headlines for pursuing policies that are as tough as possible on immigration. The more they push the "untrustworthy" line, the worse their image with Hispanics will get.

So the President may try and hold off pro-immigration advocacy groups for a few more months to see if the House will act. The best window of opportunity is coming soon - probably April through July. After that, the fall campaigns will make getting major legislation passed more difficult. So the President could wait for a few months to give the Republicans a last chance before announcing big initiatives.

Whether the President acts soon or waits several months, the next natural question is what his options actually are. There have been two helpful articles in the last few days worth a read. Elise Foley at Huffington Post has written this article. Nora Caplan-Bricker at The New Republic has written another.

And there's also this leaked USCIS memo from a couple of years ago that lays out the options.

The Administration has indicated they're not inclined to expand DACA which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. They seem to think there's a legal barrier, but if they've determined DACA is legal for one population, then I don't see why broadening it somewhat is a problem.

Stay tuned...

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  1. Jack2's Avatar
    Of course, the main reason Republicans are interested in compromising on immigration reform is to repair the damage to their brand with Hispanic voters.
    For some it's more of a crony capitalist thing--they're in it for the guest workers.

    which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
    You mean legally. A LOT of what he does does not make sense legally. Obama doesn't appear to care a whit about constitutional or statutory authority so it's hard to believe that he actually feels restrained by LAW when it comes to immigration.

    They seem to think there's a legal barrier
    Not necessarily. Over and over, he creates "laws" out of thin air and essentially nullifies actual laws which he doesn't like. Other considerations will seemingly dictate what he does here. Maybe he actually is concerned about going too far (legally), but it's also hard to make the case that he is afraid of appearing too nakedly political. Thus, not going further (or even all the way) with deferred action is a mystery.
  2. Jack2's Avatar
    One of the reasons why Secure Communities has been such a catastrophe is because there was never any good policy reason why the databases should be fused at the point of arrest.
    No good policy reason? Uh, how about finding out if someone has an arrest warrant for a violent crime before they are released for this arrest? Or maybe this guy is cool with checking everyone else's fingerprints with the database except those who volunteer that they are an alien, day laborer, etc.?
  3. MKolken's Avatar
    Why not just expand parole in place for immediate relatives of citizens? This is a permanent solution to what could be tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of undocumented immigrants.
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    With regard to the "window of opportunity" for The House Republicans to pass a reform bill between April and July, haven't they already announced that there will be no reform this year?

    Doesn't that mean that the window of opportunity is already closed for 2014? Even if one were to assume that talk about closing the window was not serious, but only rhetoric meant to please the Tea Party, the now abandoned GOP immigration
    "Standards" or "Principles" which Boehner announced with such fanfare in February would have made all "reform" contingent on "enforcement first" poison pills which were clearly designed to make a reform deal impossible.

    The Tea Party anti-immigrant bigots are firmly in the saddle in the House GOP. The question is: should the Tea Party also be in charge of deportation policy in the White House? It seems to be at the moment.

    As long as the deportations continue, it would be fair to say that the president is not only the "Deporter-in-Chief " but also the "Tea Partyer-in-Chief".

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 03-22-2014 at 01:26 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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