deferred action

Obama halts amnesty push in court, bows to incoming Trump administration

The administration has already taken the first step to accommodate President-elect Trump’s positions...

Judge Hanen had halted Mr. Obama’s expanded amnesty in February 2015.....ruling that the administration broke administrative law.   An appeals court twice upheld his injunction, as did the Supreme Court, in a 4-4 deadlock decision this summer....

“Given the change in Administration, the parties jointly submit that a brief stay of any further litigation in this Court ...

Judge Hanen would still have to consent to staying the proceedings.

The amnesty would apply to more than 4 million illegal immigrants who were either brought to the U.S. as children, or who were parents of American citizens or legal immigrants....

The amnesty was declared not be executive order, but rather by a series of memos from the Homeland Security secretary.

Judge Hanen ruled the amnesty violated the Administrative Procedure Act ...  The appeals court went further, ruling Mr. Obama broke immigration law, which never envisioned so broad a use of “deferred action” powers.

Read the full article.

MPI Estimates 93% of DACA Enrollees Eligible for Renewal Have Re-Applied; New Brief Offers Latest U.S., State & County Estimates

WASHINGTON - Ninety-three percent of the unauthorized immigrants participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who are eligible to apply for renewal have done so, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reports in a new issue brief that examines the deferred action program as its fourth anniversary nears.

Since its launch on August 15, 2012, the DACA program has provided temporary relief from deportation and eligibility for work authorization to more than 728,000 young unauthorized immigrants, representing around half-if not more-of the he population MPI estimates is eligible to participate.

Drawing upon a unique methodology that assigns legal status to the foreign born in U.S. Census Bureau population surveys and permits analysis of key sociodemographic characteristics, DACA at Four: Participation in the Deferred Action Program and Impacts on Recipients offers the latest MPI estimates of populations potentially eligible for DACA; presents trends in application rates nationwide and by state, as well as by top countries of origin; and examines the impacts that DACA has had on its recipients.

Using the most current, 2014 Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) data and aging forward those who since have reached the minimum age required to apply for DACA, MPI estimates that 1.3 million young adults ages 15 and older were immediately eligible for DACA as of 2016. This number includes about 250,000 youth who have aged into eligibility since the program’s launch. Comparing these estimates against application data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), MPI estimates that 63 percent of the immediately eligible population (those meeting all the criteria that could be modeled in the data) had applied for DACA as of March 31.

MPI estimates that an additional 398,000 unauthorized youth meet all DACA criteria except for high school completion or school enrollment. These youth can qualify if they enroll in an adult education program (a development that cannot be modeled using Census data). Adding that group to the 1.3 million immediately eligible raises the potentially eligible population to 1.7 million- and as a result lowers the initial application rate to 48 percent. MPI estimates that 228,000 children ages 7 - 14 could become eligible for DACA in the future.

The vast majority of DACA recipients are applying for renewal. MPI estimates 581,000 of the 728,000 recipients of an initial two-year DACA grant have been in the program long enough to apply for renewal, with 539,000 of them doing so to date-a 93 percent renewal rate.

“At its four-year mark, DACA is a large-scale program that has succeeded in attracting broad participation and providing life-altering benefits to many unauthorized youth-as evidenced by the fact that 93 percent of those eligible to apply for renewal have done so,” said brief co-author Faye Hipsman, an MPI policy analyst.

“Still, almost half a million DACA-eligible individuals had not applied as of March 31, 2016, and several hundred thousand more could qualify if they enroll in an adult education program, suggesting that further outreach by service providers could broaden DACA’s reach,” said Randy Capps, who is director of research for U.S. programs.

Among the other findings:

  • The DACA-eligible are concentrated in a small number of states, with California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois accounting for 59 percent of the 1.7 million who are currently potentially eligible to apply.
  • Unauthorized youth from Mexico and Central America, along with Peru, have the highest application rates by country of origin. Mexicans, for example, account for 63 percent of the immediately eligible population but 78 percent of applications as of March. Application rates are generally very low for youth born in Asia, with China not even among the top 25 countries for which USCIS reported application data.
  • The states with the highest application rates, exceeding 75 percent for the immediately eligible-Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon and Texas-are all Western states with a predominantly Mexican-born DACA-eligible population. By contrast states with the lowest application rates (below 50 percent) for the immediately eligible- Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida-have more diverse unauthorized populations, with Mexicans and Central Americans in the minority.

Read the brief here.

For updated DACA data at U.S., state and county levels, as well as application rates by top countries of origin, check out these updated MPI DACA tools:

The Miscarriage of Justice Department

The constitutional challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration keeps getting more remarkable. A federal judge has now exposed how the Justice Department systematically deceived lower courts about the Administration’s conduct, and he has imposed unprecedented legal measures to attempt to sterilize this ethics rot.

On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed misconduct that he called “intentional, serious and material.” In 2015 he issued an injunction—now in front of the Supreme Court—blocking Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.

When 26 states sued to block the order in December 2014, Justice repeatedly assured Judge Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security would not start processing applications until February 2015 at the earliest. Two weeks after the injunction came down, in March, Justice was forced to admit that DHS had already granted or renewed more than 100,000 permits.

Justice has also conceded in legal filings that all its lawyers knew all along that the DHS program was underway, despite what they said in briefs and hearings. One DOJ lawyer told Judge Hanen that “I really would not expect anything between now and the date of the hearing.” As the judge notes, “How the government can categorize the granting of over 100,000 applications as not being ‘anything’ is beyond comprehension.”

Justice’s only explanation is that its lawyers either “lost focus on the fact” or “the fact receded in memory or awareness”—the fact here being realities that the DOJ was required to disclose to the court. The states weren’t able to make certain arguments or seek certain legal remedies because the program supposedly hadn’t been implemented, leaving them in a weaker legal position.

More to the point, an attorney’s first and most basic judicial obligation is to tell the truth. Judge Hanen concludes that the misrepresentations “were made in bad faith” and “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” Many a lawyer has been disbarred for less.

As a result, Judge Hanen ordered that any Washington-based Justice lawyer who “appears or seeks to appear” in any state or federal court in the 26 states must first attend a remedial ethics seminar on “candor to the court.” He also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prepare a “comprehensive plan” to prevent such falsification. Such extraordinary judicial oversight is usually reserved for companies with a pattern of corruption or racially biased police departments. Justice is sure to appeal, and whether Judge Hanen has the jurisdiction to impose his plan is uncharted legal territory.

Yet the misconduct he has unmasked should trouble Americans of all political persuasions. Prosecutors often abuse their powers in run-of-the-mill cases. But this is a constitutional challenge with major consequences for the separation of powers, and the deceit must have required the participation and coordination of dozens of political appointees and career lawyers. That suggests a serious institutional failure, not mere rogue actors.

Main Justice may have figured that the state challenge would be tossed for lack of standing, and thus its dissembling wouldn’t matter. This would mean that President Obama’s refusal to recognize the legal limits of his executive power has spread a culture of lawlessness among his lawyers too.

AG Lynch could salvage the credibility of the Justice Department by explaining how this breakdown happened. Whether you worry about how Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would wield government powers, everyone has an interest in an honest accounting of the facts that were denied to Judge Hanen.

Supreme Court must rebuke Obama's self-coronation: Texas AG

The president of the United States of America has declared that unlawful conduct is lawful.

It sounds unbelievable when you say it out loud, doesn’t it? The president, the person we trust to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, has declared illegal conduct to be legal?

But in 2014, President Obama did just that. He declared that four million unlawfully-present immigrants were now lawfully-present. How? Because he says so.

Unfortunately for the president, the Constitution does not let him do that. And on April 18, Texas will lead a coalition of 26 states before the United States Supreme Court to stop President Obama’s illegal immigration policy.

This lawsuit should not be groundbreaking. It is a question that was decided at the nation’s founding. Can one person unilaterally change the law?

Of course not. Our Founders drafted the Constitution to make clear that the people, through their elected representatives in Congress, have the authority to decide immigration policy for the United States.

In 2011, President Obama understood this. When asked about immigration reform, he addressed his supporters honestly, explaining that “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own ... But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

But in 2014, the president was singing a different tune. He announced to the world, with a flick of his pen on an executive order, “I just took an action to change the law.”

The president had it right the first time. He did not have the power to unilaterally change the law. He does not have the power to override the will of the people as vested in our Constitution.

As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 47, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Make no mistake, this is about more than just immigration. If this blatant power-grab goes unchecked, nothing would stop a president from issuing an executive order dissolving the rights of gun owners in violation of the Second Amendment, nullifying the religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment or abolishing any other right that we hold dear.

Madison warned against one person deciding for the entire nation what the law shall be. It is the antithesis of who we are as Americans. In this country, the people, through their representatives, decide the law — not one person.

Or as President Obama once put it, “I am president. I am not a king. I can’t do these things just by myself.”

Exactly.

Ken Paxton is the Attorney General of Texas.

Obama's immigration order overreaches: Our view

Sometimes it seems the Supreme Court’s main purpose these days is to resolve disputes between Republicans and President Obama.

Toward the end of Obama’s first term, the court ruled on a challenge to his signature health care law. On Monday, as Obama approaches the end of his second term, the justices are set to consider his executive order that would allow millions of undocumented workers to avoid deportation.

Obama won the first of these cases. The court ruled, correctly in our view, that Obamacare's insurance mandate did not violate the Constitution. The president's backers hope and believe that the court will take a similar tack in U.S. v. Texas, finding that the case is a political squabble dressed up as a legal dispute.

That, however, would be a mistake.

To be sure, Obama’s quest to reform the immigration system is a worthy cause. Keeping millions of undocumented immigrants in a state of legal limbo makes little sense.

Like his predecessor, George W. Bush, Obama backed legislation to grant these immigrants a path to legal status while beefing up border enforcement and making needed changes to the legal immigration system. That legislation passed with bipartisan support in the Senate but ran into a buzz saw of opposition from conservatives in the House.

Faced with legislative gridlock, the president acted unilaterally. Obama’s 2014 order, known as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, combined with a predecessor order he issued two years earlier, would allow as many as 5 million of the estimated 11 million undocumented people to remain in the United States without fear of deportation.

While courts have typically given great deference to presidents in matters of immigration, this is simply too sweeping a policy change to exclude the legislative branch. It does the right thing in the wrong way.

The order has many flaws. Because it could be rescinded by a future president, it would not give immigrants the certainty they'd need to come out from the shadows and fully participate in their communities. Because it addresses only undocumented workers, it would do nothing for backlogs in legal immigration and a shortage of skilled workers.

The order's biggest flaw, however, is the precedent it would set by giving the president sweeping authority to interpret immigration laws virtually any way he or she sees fit. The same people who think Obama should have broad powers over immigration enforcement will feel a lot differently if a Republican wins the White House in November.

Imagine what orders Ted Cruz or Donald Trump would issue if elected president. Trump has advocated mass deportations, temporarily banning entry of foreign Muslims, and building a border wall financed by confiscating the remittances that undocumented workers attempt to send to their families back home.

In an interview with NBC News this year, Trump said he wouldn't hesitate to issue executive orders, noting that Obama had “led the way” with his actions.

The court would be wise to limit the president's authority in this area, and leave Congress and the White House to work out through the legislative process how to handle undocumented immigrants, as maddening as that might be.

USA TODAY's editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature.
 

Supreme Court agrees to review Obama immigration plan

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to review President Obama’s plan to shield up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation, after lower courts blocked the president’s sweeping executive actions from taking effect.

The decision sets up an election-year clash over the controversial plan that many Republicans have likened to “amnesty.”

The justices said Tuesday they will consider undoing lower court rulings...

The decision to review the case may be welcome on both sides of the aisle. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, of Utah, issued a statement praising the court for taking it on – and urging the justices to rule against the administration.

"President Obama’s executive action is an affront to our system of republican self-government,” Hatch said....

The White House voiced confidence their policies would be upheld.

"Like millions of families across this country – immigrants who want to be held accountable, to work on the books, to pay taxes, and to contribute to our society openly and honestly...

The case probably will be argued in April and decided by late June...

The immigrants who would benefit from the Obama administration's plan are mainly the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

But more than two-dozen mostly Republican-led states challenged Obama’s executive actions after they were rolled out in 2014...

Critics say the plan is unconstitutional...

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. later said in a court filing that allowing those rulings to stand would force millions of people "to continue to work off the books, without the option of lawful employment to provide for their families."

At issue is the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, which Obama said would allow people who have been in the United States more than five years and who have children who are in the country legally to "come out of the shadows and get right with the law."

Texas is leading 26 states in challenging the immigration plan.

Immigrant Youth Confronts Ted Cruz, Asks If He Would Deport Her — Camera Captures GOP Candidate’s Candid Answer

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz did not back down from his stance on immigration Wednesday night, after being confronted by a woman who asked if he would deport her, even though it was her parents who brought her to the United States illegally.

During an event in Storm Lake, Iowa, Wednesday night, Ofelia Valdez, 30, told Cruz that although she was brought to the country illegally by her parents as a teen, she was able to retain residency due to President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or “DREAM act.”

cruzdaca

Image credit: Youtube/screenshot

“As a DACA holder myself, I am worried about whoever comes next in the presidency and what’s gonna happen to people like us?” Valdez said, according to a video taken posted on YouTube by the Democratic National Committee. “I think of myself as a part of this community and, you know, first day in presidency you decide to deport, you know, people like myself — it’s just very difficult to process it.”

While Valdez’ question invoked many emotions, Cruz did not concede that immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. illegally, noting that deportation is a consequence of a “broken immigration system.”

“I would note, if you’re a DACA recipient it means that you were brought here illegally, and violating the laws has consequences,” Cruz told the woman. “And one of the problems with our broken immigration system is that it is creating human tragedies and there are human tragedies when people break the law.”

“Violating the laws has consequences”

The leading Iowa Republican went on to explain to the woman that, if he were to immigrate to a country illegally, he would most likely be deported — so America should be no different.

“If I illegally emigrate to England or Germany or France or China or Mexico, and they catch me, they will deport me,” he said. “That’s what every other country on Earth does, and there’s no reason that America’s laws should have less respect than the laws of every other country on Earth.”

“We should welcome people who come following the laws, but there are consequences for breaking the laws, and that is part of what makes America the nation that we are,” the Texas Republican added.

Cruz, over the last month, has been sharpening his rhetoric on immigration, in an effort to contrast himself and fellow Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

Democratic candidates, on the other hand, have been attempting to win over Hispanic voters by advocating for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for those illegals who are already in the U.S. Former President Bill Clinton, who is now campaigning for his wife Hillary, was even introduced by a “DREAMer” at an event on Thursday.

Eugene, Oregon police department forced to consider illegal aliens for officers

The federal government sued the Eugene, Oregon police department because it would not consider non-citizens for the job of police officer:

Oregon's second-largest city has agreed to pay a civil penalty and undergo federal monitoring in a settlement over allegations it violated anti-discrimination law when hiring new police officers, the Justice Department said on Wednesday...

The behavior violated the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which bars employers from limiting work to U.S. citizens except where the employer is required to do so by law, regulation, executive order or government contract.

What kind of law is on the books that won't let employers limit jobs to Americans?  This is truly bizarre!

Eugene agreed to pay a $3,000 civil penalty, train its employees about federal anti-discrimination law and submit to monitoring by the Justice Department for the next three years.

In early January 2015, the EPD started a recruiting effort for new police officers. In some of its promotional materials, EPD erroneously wrote that state law required applicants to be citizens at the time of hire. In fact, state law only requires police officers to be citizens within 18 months of hire.

How can the EPD know that an applicant who is not a citizen will be a citizen in 18 months?  There is no way to be certain of that.

This is just the camel's nose inside the tent.  You think this doesn't apply to illegals?  Well, if Obama's amnesty goes through, it will.  Before long you will actually see illegal alien police officers...

When even the most sensitive jobs like the police are held open for illegals, it's difficult to see how our society can save itself.  Our society becomes their society.

Feds. Visiting Illegals’ Homes To Seize Erroneously Issued Amnesty Docs

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will begin visiting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries who received the illegal three-year work permits and have not yet returned them.

“USCIS officials will soon begin to visit the listed address of certain individuals who have not yet returned an invalid three-year employment authorization document (EAD) for the purpose of retrieving these EADs,” the agency explained in a statement. “USCIS has already attempted, or is in the process of attempting, to notify all recipients by mail and phone that the three-year EADs are no longer valid and must be immediately returned.”

According to the agency, officials will not be questioning people at the addresses they visit but rather retrieving the three-year work authorizations.

“Individuals who received these three-year EADs are not being penalized for requesting DACA, they are merely being reissued the correct two-year cards,” the agency added.

USCIS warns that those who do not return their three-year permits will find their DACA status terminated.

Judge Andrew Hanen — the judge presiding over 26 states’ legal challenge of executive amnesty, who issued the initial injunction — has said he will order top Obama immigration officials into court to explain the injunction violations if the agency has not recouped all the erroneously issued three-year work permits to the court’s satisfaction by July 31.

Hanen issued the injunction, halting Obama’s executive amnesty programs — expanded DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) — in February. Prior to his injunction and after the Obama administration was issuing three-year work permits to DACA recipients, a part of the expanded executive amnesty DACA program.

...both sides have acknowledged that those post-injunction permits are illegal and must be recouped.

USCIS says about 2,100 three-year permits were issued post-injunction and another 500 were issued before the injunction but due to mail and address issues were mailed again after the injunction. All 2,600 are considered invalid. USCIS notes that the move does not apply to those three-year permits issued in advance of the injunction.

“This action does not apply to the approximately 108,000 three-year EADs that were approved and mailed by USCIS on or before the February 16, 2015, injunction date and that have never been returned or reissued by USCIS,” reads a USCIS fact sheet.

According to amnesty groups briefed on the matter, federal officials are slated to begin home visits Thursday in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston. The groups say that there are about 1,000 outstanding three-year permits.

Lawmakers clear grants for undocumented students

SALEM — Oregon lawmakers have cleared the way for state grants for Oregon university students who were brought to the United States as children but lack immigration papers.

Gov. Kate Brown will receive Senate Bill 932 after the Senate voted 17-12 on Friday for the final version. The House approved it, 34-25, on the previous day.

With the exception of one Democrat in the Senate, the votes were along party lines ...

The House vote followed a verbal dust-up between a supporter and opponents of the bill.

According to state estimates, a maximum of 1,000 such students would be eligible for Oregon Opportunity Grants — and that 350 of them were likely to obtain them.

Rep. Joe Gallegos, D-Hillsboro, said about 75 students are enrolled at state universities under the terms of 2013 legislation allowing them to qualify for in-state tuition rates if they meet specified requirements....

The two-year budget for Oregon Opportunity Grants will be increased by 24 percent, to $141 million. According to estimates, 84,000 students will receive average grants of $1,650.

But a couple of the five Republicans who voted for the 2013 in-state tuition law said they believed it would not extend to eligibility for state financial assistance.

“We are going to do now what we said was not going to happen,” said Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn.

The bill received no Republican votes, and Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose was the only Democrat in opposition...

The House debate was interrupted when Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, criticized the opposition voiced by some of his colleagues as he spoke in favor of the bill. His remarks triggered a response by Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, who had just spoken against the bill.

A House rule says: “In speaking, the member must confine discussion to the question under debate, avoid personalities and not impugn the motives of another member's vote or argument.”

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, spoke after a timeout lasting several minutes, during which members of both parties attempted to calm things.

“I want to point out that it is really important not to impugn or infer someone’s motives here on this floor,” Kotek said. “I want to say that the member from East Multnomah County was inappropriate in what he was saying.”

Gorsek then rose and said: “I understand that I did something extremely inappropriate“ and I am extremely embarrassed by that.”
 

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