Millions of immigrants again on hold: More political moves delay immigration reform as deportations continue.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

Children at recess used to play a game called “Red Light, Green Light,” where the one child faces away from the other children who start behind a line, saying “green light,” so the children behind the line can creep closer and tag them before they quickly turn around and say, “red light.” Is this the real strategy on immigration reform on Capitol Hill?

Reporting news and updates on immigration reform and the problems caused by inaction seems futile when people make promises and do not keep them. More often, people say they will make every effort at taking action, the political version of a promise. Both sides of the political aisle are frustrated with the failure to make meaningful reform to our badly outdated immigration system. As President Obama, the Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue sparring, the human casualties are mounting.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

Earlier this summer, President Obama asked Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to hold off on releasing the results of a review of the immigration system, so House Republicans could get together necessary votes to pass a reform bill. It never happened. When Congress adjourned for summer break, the President reported he was working on his own plan for relief through executive orders, something the House Republicans first criticized him for doing, and then suggested he take executive action after all. Meanwhile, the mid-term elections scheduled for November are the latest roadblock to reform. On Saturday September 6, The Associated Press tweeted, “BREAKING: White House officials: Obama to delay immigration action until after November election.”

Result: “Millions of immigrants will face at least 60 more days under the threat of deportation[i]

The human cost of this delay is significant. As the quote from the article indicates, millions of undocumented immigrants who anticipated relief from deportation now fear the worst. Of the millions of immigrants waiting for relief, advocates estimate that an actual 60,000 immigrants will be deported within the next 60 days.

DHS is still stating that they are, “using “prosecutorial discretion” so that resident, law-abiding unauthorized immigrants don’t get deported.[ii]” Instead, they claim, “high priority” immigrants, “those who have committed crimes, have recently entered the country, or were deported and then came back,” are the focus of current deportation activity.[iii]

The message sent by the U.S., likely heard worldwide, is that immigrants are marginalized.

Wouldn’t you feel alienated and awkward coming to a country in political turmoil over what to do about your arrival and presence? From one political party who embraces policies helping people suffering violence and injustice in their home countries, to another who would like to catapult them back to their home countries, it must be terrible not knowing who they can trust. Some compassion for people who likely are not thrilled about leaving their home countries would make for a stronger immigration stance and the current ping-pong games make U.S. leaders look foolish.

While likely feeling marginalized by a seemingly unfair political struggle, the undocumented immigrants who made it safely to the U.S. can only hope for positive change and relief, through President Obama or Congress, whoever is able to make a meaningful difference. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley also hopes for positive change in U.S. immigration policy. She will continue to offer updates and available immigration news.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including and related options for undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i] Vox, The human cost of Obama’s delay on immigration action, by Dara Lind, Sept. 8, 2014.

[ii] See, Vox article above (HNi)

[iii] See, Vox article above (HNi)

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Executive orders in immigration: President Obama to follow past presidents in executive action

A history of executive orders.

A history of executive orders.

President Obama, backed into a corner by Congress, must fix immigration with a pen and phone. The New York Times reports that the President, behind closed doors, is working on executive actions to overhaul immigration. An arduous task at best, the President has much work to do, meeting with lobbyists and members of interest groups and advisors. It is noteworthy that the executive branch of government may use executive orders to accomplish goals, despite the lack of an organized system for executive action. Congress, however, is by design, the branch of government best structured to conduct hearings, sort information and create laws. Without the meaningful assistance of Congress, President Obama is now expected to follow previous presidents who affected immigration using executive action.[i]

Everyone is affected by systemic problems in U.S. immigration but politics creates a permanent block to progress.

House Democrats want amnesty for individuals seeking asylum and immigration relief. House Republicans want southern border security and an efficient deportation process. With increased awareness of terror groups and rampant criminal action in the streets, many people living in violent and insecure countries are learning how they can come to the U.S., but they don’t know how to navigate the system to come legally, and follow in line with others making a run to U.S. borders. The immigration problems in the U.S. are not getting better and they will likely only grow worse. In the past, U.S. presidents, from both political parties, used executive orders to solve pressing immigration problems.

President Obama, like his predecessors, has executive order options he can use to overhaul immigration.

The way you hear House Republicans attacking and suing President Obama for signing executive orders in once instance, and criticizing him for failing to write immigration reform may be confusing to many. In fact, President Obama has only issued 185 executive orders as of August 5, 2014[ii]; According to Newsweek, his number, “Is Lower Than Any President in 130 Years.[iii]” In a recent report prepared by a political research organization, Executive Actions Speak Louder Than Words[iv], other recent presidents signed many more orders than President Obama:

  1. Barack Obama – 185 executive orders between 2009 and 2014;
  2. George W. Bush – 291 executive orders during two terms in office;
  3. Bill Clinton – 364 executive orders during two terms in office;
  4. George H.W. Bush – 166 executive orders during one term in office;
  5. Ronald Reagan – 381 executive orders during two terms in office;
  6. Jimmy Carter – 320 executive orders during one term in office.

Past presidents, including Reagan and both Bush presidents used executive action to address immigration.

Important executive orders have been used in recent history to address compelling civil rights problems. While so many people are quick to judge a current president’s record, it is easy to forget that this is not a new method to cure immigration problems in the U.S. Here is a summary of some notable executive actions in immigration, taken by recent U.S. presidents[v]:

  • 1987 – President Reagan eased immigration standards for 200,000 Nicaraguan exiles in the U.S.;
  • 1990 – President Bush Sr. protected Chinese students fearing persecution if sent back to China;
  • 1991 – President Bush Sr. delayed deportation for hundreds of Kuwaiti residents for four years;
  • 1992 – President Bush Sr. made repatriation “automatic” for Haitians coming to the U.S., including those with “potentially valid claim to refugee status”;
  • 1993 – President Clinton granted 18-month extension of the Deferred Enforcement Departure Program, giving 200,000 Salvadorans the right to legally live and work in the U.S.;
  • 1997 – President Clinton again used executive authority to give exemptions to up to 20,000 Haitians for an additional year, from strict new deportation rules;
  • 1998 – President Clinton temporarily suspended deportation to hurricane-ravaged countries;
  • 2001 – President Bush Jr. gave temporary protected status to up to 150,000 Salvadorans;
  • 2002 – President Bush Jr. expedited naturalization for green card holders enlisted in the military.

Obviously, the use of executive actions by U.S. presidents, in immigration, is a common practice. Despite House Representatives, who refuse to take meaningful action in immigration reform, the President can and apparently will sign one or a series of executive orders to address current immigration crises, including some 57,000 recent migrant individuals fleeing from Central America.

KiKi M. Mosley keeps pace with the immigration roller coaster on Capitol Hill because real people need immigration reform today.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i] New York Times, Behind Closed Doors, Obama Crafts Executive Actions, by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Aug. 18, 2014.

[ii] Federal Register, Executive Orders website.

[iii] Newsweek, An Embarrassing Hole in Boehner’s Plan to Sue ‘King’ Obama, by Leah McGrath Goodman, Jun. 27, 2014.

[iv] American Bridge, Executive Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Aug. 8, 2014.

[v] See American Bridge report (HNiv) for specific article sources.

Ninth hour congressional action by House Representatives: A good faith effort or a show play leaving President Obama to use his executive powers?

Ninth hour congressional action by House Representatives

Ninth hour congressional action by House Representatives

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wants President Obama to use executive orders[i] to fix immigration issues, and on the other hand, endorses a lawsuit against him for several of his past issued executive orders including the orders regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). Note that DACA does not give benefit to current arrivals; in order to qualify for DACA program, an individual needed to have been on U.S. soil before 2007. Nevertheless, House Republicans blame DACA for enticing new arriving immigrants.

In his press statement last Thursday about border security and House Republican proposals for reform, Speaker Boehner stated, “This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws. There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now.[ii]

While Speaker Boehner speaks critically of President Obama, House Republicans have their own version of immigration reform legislation that does not sit well with President Obama’s administration.

Note that this statement by Speaker Boehner was issued with regards to H.R. 5230, the border supplemental legislation, proposed by House Republican Rep. Rogers (R-Kentucky), which as proposed, would provide additional money for international operations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to combat the problem of security threats from organized crime networks (drug cartels) and also to reimburse local communities for the cost of housing and educating unaccompanied minors. Of course, there are elements of H.R. 5230 that are more favored by the Republican ideals of addressing immigration.

President Obama would likely be advised to veto this legislation if it moved forward according to recent statement. In response to the introduction of H.R. 5230, the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Management and Budget stated in a July 30, 2014, statement, “Republicans released patchwork legislation that will only put more arbitrary and unrealistic demands on an already broken system. H.R. 5230 could make the situation worse, not better. By setting arbitrary timelines for the processing of cases, this bill could create backlogs that could ultimately shift resources away from priority public safety goals, like deporting known criminals.[iii]

The House Republicans offer a list of, “Immediate Steps the President Could Take to Start Solving the Border Crisis,” published on the House GOP website[iv]:

  • Send the strong, public message that those who enter illegally will be returned;
  • Stop abusing his prosecutorial discretion authority;
  • Stop releasing convicted criminal aliens from detention;
  • Crack down on fraudulent asylum claims;
  • Implement tougher standards for “credible fear” claims;
  • Detain asylum seekers until their claims are proved valid;
  • Restore agreements with local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration laws;
  • Employ diplomatic resources to stop the border crisis;
  • Give Border Patrol agents access to federal lands.

While there are some steps on the GOP list that could be accomplished by President Obama issuing executive orders and directing DHS and ICE to act and implement new policies. The steps on this list may also be “easier said than done.”

Current immigration clients and their cases can be seriously impacted by the immigration system when it does not move along in an orderly fashion. Wait times are already many years in certain instances and the proposed legislation by the House Republicans could hurt many immigrants who are not part of any border surge, people who arrived on U.S. soil under much different circumstances and conditions. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley works diligently to follow the latest news on immigration reform and share valuable information to help readers keep up with the volatile process of fixing our broken immigration system.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i] Executive orders are enforceable law and are subject to judicial review, and if the executive order is not supported by the Constitution or by statute. When executive orders should be used, versus action voted by congress to be written in an executive order as delegated legislation, is a debatable political question influenced by policy and a variety of factors.

[ii] U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner: Press Release, Statement by House GOP Leaders on Border Bill, Jul. 31, 2014, Speaker Boehner’s Press Office.

[iii] Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget, Statement of Administration Policy, H.R. 5230 – Making Supplemental Appropriations for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2014, and for Other Purposes. Jul. 30, 2014.

[iv] GOP.gov – House Republicans: Immediate Steps the President Could Take to Start Solving the Border Crisis, Courtesy of the House Judiciary Committee.