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Will Obama Go Ahead With Immigration Executive Action? By Roger Algase

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Amid scathing criticism from Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and other immigration advocates to the effect that postponing executive action to widen the scope of relief from deportation until after the election did nothing to help red state Senate Democrats who lost anyway, but only infuriated Latino and other pro-immigration voters into staying away from the polls, POLITICO's star immigration reporter, Seung Min Kim, writes on November 5 that President Obama is now considering specific proposals to extend this relief to more people.

See her article (to which Manu Raju also contributed): Obama's gamble on immigration doesn't pay off

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.c...5-8298D3F8022F

Kim writes that the administration is considering two key factors in determining whether immigrants in the US without legal status should be granted some form of relief from deportation. These are, (not surprisingly) length of time in the US and family ties. According to her report, the time period under consideration is between 5 and 10 years.

The same article also reports that the administration may be considering raising the maximum eligibility age under DACA from the current 30 years (as of June 15, 2012) in order to make more people eligible for this program.

On the other hand, Kim also writes that immigration advocates are worried that instead of expanding the scope of DACA, the administration might decide to shrink it in reaction to the electoral rout.

She quotes Rep. Guiterrez as follows:

"I am concerned that the president will decide, and his advisers will encourage him, to simply take up half a loaf of justice and fairness...That the relief will not be broad, will not be generous."

Needless to say, even half a loaf of additional relief from deportation would outrage anti-immigrant Republicans who will now control both houses of Congress.

Kim quotes incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as saying that moving ahead with executive action on immigration would be "like waving a red flag in front of a bull".

And the article also reports that a group of six conservative senators led by Ted Cruz (R-TX) have written to outgoing Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pushing for measures in the lame-duck session that would block any expansion of executive action to grant relief from deportation.

In one sense, Kim's article could be looked at as the optimistic scenario: it appears to assume that the Republicans in the new Congress will be content to stop any expansion of DACA, while leaving the current program in place. But given the intensity of GOP anti-immigrant rhetoric during the midterm campaign, this may be assuming too much.

There is no reason to rule out the possibility of right wing Republican attempts to shut down the government or refuse to raise the debt limit if the president does not agree to cancel DACA in its existing form. Nor can an impeachment attempt be ruled out if President Obama leaves DACA in place as it now exists, let alone trying to expand it.

The only comfort in this case would be to look at the Constitution and do some simple math. Even if the overwhelmingly GOP controlled House votes to impeach the president, it would take a two thirds majority in the Senate actually to remove him from office.

That would require 67 votes. Even assuming that they win the two as yet undecided Senate races in Louisiana and Alaska (as appears likely) the Republicans will have 54 votes - not even close to being able to remove President Obama from office.

Ultimately, whether or not any of the possible executive action proposals mentioned in the above article are ever acted upon will depend on one person and one person only: President Barack Obama.
____________________________
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been helping employment and family based immigrants achieve successful results by handling each of their cases personally and fighting hard to protect their rights.

Roger's practice includes H-1B and O-1 work visas, J-1 training visas, and green cards through labor certification, extraordinary ability and opposite or same sex marriage, among other immigration and citizenship cases. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com

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Updated 11-07-2014 at 08:49 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. JamesW's Avatar
    Maybe its time we accept that Mr Obama is the most timid of Presidents since the 1840s and he will issue no executive order of any impact - on immigration or anything else. Can an attorney actually recommend a client sign up for DACA II? Get a measly 18 month work permit in exchange for an NTA in Jan 2017?

    This President, like the antebellum Presidents before him, believes in his heart and soul that the President is the darling of Congress and cannot take any action without the direct authorization of the Constitution or a statute.

    Its a good thing the 16th President had a different point of view, issuing the first recorded Executive Order. You can read Executive Order # 1 at the National Archives here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/transcript.html.

    This Executive Order changed the course of American history -- for the good - yet it was clearly had no statutory authority and was unconstitutional.

    Mr. Obama has the same authority as Abraham Lincoln. Why won't he see that?
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I agree with JamesW. There is an old Japanese saying that even a sharp sword is useless in the hands of a coward. Executive action over immigration is a sharp sward. But this president is afraid to use it.

    Or, to put it more precisely, he is turning the sword of executive action against the very people who need its help the most- by deporting record numbers of immigrants, including thousand of young Central American children without giving them the right to counsel, which is the heart of due process of law.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
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