Friday, November 21, 2014

Republicans And Democrats Upset With Obama's Executive Action On Immigration

President Barack Obama announced sweeping actions he's taking by executive action to change the nation's current immigration laws. The greatest attention is focused on a plan to grant so-called deferred action to an estimated 4.4 million undocumented aliens who arrived in the country on or before January 1, 2010, have remained in the country continuously and have U.S. citizen children. If the so-called Deferred Action Parents ("DAP") can clear a background check and pay back taxes owed to the government, they would be eligible to apply for work authorization for a period of three years, subject to re-authorization at the expiration of the authorized period of deferred action during which they could not be subject to removal from the country for mere unlawful presence.

The proposed regulations aren't available yet so it's unclear how the back taxes would be calculated. The President emphasizes that work authorization will not allow these undocumented aliens to be eligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act; however, under current law they cannot be denied health care when they show up for emergency care at a hospital based on whether they have insurance or are able to pay for their health care.

The President is also expanding his earlier deferred action program for childhood arrivals known as DACA for so-called Dreamers. That program offers deferred action with work authorization for period of two years, subject to reauthorization, for undocumented aliens who arrived in the country prior to their 16th birthday on or before June 15, 2007, had obtained or were obtaining an education and had remained continuously in the U.S. for five years. The President is upping the authorization period for DACA beneficiaries from two to three years and expanding its coverage to include those who arrived on or before June 15, 2010.

Gov. Mike Pence reacted sharply to the President's announcement, suggesting he may join other state executives in challenging the legality of President Obama's executive authority to change current immigration laws and policies.
“Tonight the President announced his plan to by-pass Congress by issuing an executive order changing American immigration laws. While reasonable people can differ on ways to improve our nation’s broken immigration system, the President's unilateral action is an unacceptable end run around the democratic process and must be reversed. The proper place to debate immigration policy is through the legislative process defined in our Constitution. The State of Indiana will carefully evaluate the details of the Executive Order and take any available legal actions necessary to restore the rule of law and proper balance to our constitutional system of government.”
Gov. Pence's office tells the Indianapolis Star it has started discussions with Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office on potential legal action the state might take in opposing the President's executive actions. It's not just Republicans complaining about Obama's action. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) is not happy with President Obama either. "I am frustrated as anyone that Congress is not doing its job, but the president shouldn't make such significant policy changes on his own, "Donnelly told the Star. 

There are many other changes the President is proposing to make, including changes to make it easier for employment-based immigration applications to be approved and expanding investor-related visas and national interest waivers. The President also plans to make it easier for undocumented aliens with qualifying U.S. citizen relatives to obtain hardship waivers to allow them to become permanent residents, as well as expanding changes previously made to benefit those undocumented aliens to include spouses and children of lawful permanent residents. 

Law enforcement will not like the President's proposed changes on enforcement. He plans to do away with the Secure Communities program under which detainers are placed on aliens who have been arrested. The detainers required local law enforcement to hold aliens being released from jail until they could be picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), processed and given a Notice to Appear before an immigration court for hearing on their legal status in this country. Detainers are expected to be replaced with notifications to ICE when incarcerated aliens are about to be released by local law enforcement. The administration is supposed to release a very strongly-worded memo regarding the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to avoid many removal proceedings that are initiated under existing laws and policies. 

Existing ICE memos regarding enforcement priorities and prosecutorial discretion are to be replaced with a priority on the following categories of immigrants: (1) suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members and persons apprehended on the border; (2) persons convicted of multiple or serious misdemeanors and very recent border crossers (those entering after January 1, 2014; and (3) those who, after January 1, 2014, failed to leave under a removal order or returned after removal. Again, the emphasis is on the use of prosecutorial discretion to limit the number of removal cases. Some ICE officials are grumbling that their enforcement capabilities are effectively being neutered by the President's action. So essentially, if you are an undocumented alien who is arrested for misdemeanor offenses like drunk driving, traffic-related offenses, domestic battery, as long as you haven't had multiple similar arrests, ICE will be told to stand down and not take enforcement action against you.

UPDATE: The Associated Press fact-checked some of the claims Obama made during his address last night. True to form, he lived up to Jack Cashill's "YOU LIE" tag.

OBAMA: “It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. Only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.”
THE FACTS: He’s saying, and doing, more than that. The changes also will make those covered eligible for work permits, allowing them to be employed in the country legally and compete with citizens and legal residents for better-paying jobs.
* * *
OBAMA: “Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years.”
THE FACTS: The numbers certainly surged this year, but it was more than a “brief spike.” The number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border has been on the rise since the 2011 budget year. That year, about 16,000 children were found crossing the border alone. In 2012, the Border Patrol reported more than 24,000 children, followed by more than 38,800 in 2013. In the last budget year, more than 68,361 children were apprehended.
* * *
OBAMA: “Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.”
THE FACTS: Indeed, in the 2014 budget year ending Sept. 30 the Border Patrol made 486,651 arrests of border crossers, among the fewest since the early 1970s. But border arrests have been on the rise since 2011.
The decline in crossings is not purely, or perhaps even primarily, because of the Obama administration. The deep economic recession early in his presidency and the shaky aftermath made the U.S. a less attractive place to come for work. The increase in arrests since 2011 also can be traced in part to the economy – as the recovery improved, more people came in search of opportunity.
* * *
OBAMA: “When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders.”
THE FACTS: He overlooked the fact that he promised as a candidate for president in 2008 to have an immigration bill during his first year in office and move forward on it quickly. He never kept that promise to the Latino community.


Anonymous said...

Sitting on the sidelines and presenting no plan or vote for over ten years for immigration...or 9/11 first responders and firemen for care...and whom is at fault?

Gary R. Welsh said...

President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress did nothing during his first term in office. During Bush's last term, a bipartisan immigration reform bill had passed both the Senate and House before Obama did everything he could to make sure it got killed so Republicans wouldn't get any credit for acting on immigration reform. The man is a maniacal, narcissistic dictator who has no respect for the rule of law. Immigration reform is needed, but his actions will only lead to a further breakdown in the immigration laws, which at a certain point will become meaningless. if they haven't already.

LamLawIndy said...

I dunno that legal action against the President will go anywhere: prosecutorial discretion is indeed part of the executive branch's powers. That said, it's politically unwise to antagonize a Congress with several critters eyeing a presidential run when appropriations season is going to begin.

Flogger said...

I suppose we need to wait for Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce to weigh in and tell our Elected Officials how to act.

If Obama's actions create a big pool of cheap labor, so much the better for the bottom line, and a big thumbs up from Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce have already spoken. They want more slave labor imported into this country to destroy what remains of the middle class.

Anonymous said...

Wrong Gary....Immigrations was ignored under bush...war was and is the agenda then...Follow the votes and itinerary.

Anonymous said...

The is entirely a fight about votes. The Republicans wanted nothing to be done about immigration until after the 2016 election so they could accuse the Democrats of doing nothing at all for Latinos. The Democrats couldn't get a compromise bill through the House, largely because Republicans were afraid of their conservative base. What the executive order does, is largely what's being done anyway, but now it's publicized. If the Republicans take this away in the new congress, they look good to their base, but bad to the Latino voters. Way too much fuss about very little.

Anonymous said...

As I read the comments to this particular blog article my fear for the safety of the Republic grows exponentially.

The low-info voter pool widens. Could a larger group of uninformed fools able to elect the likes of Marist Obama, the evil Reid, and the extremist liberal Nancy Pelosi be found anywhere else on Earth?

Thank God for Gary Welsh and his wise replies to the brain dead responders who doubtlessly believe they are Mensa material.

Anonymous said...

Wow, look at the manly Mike Pence react in goose step fashion to those Republican Party screw-ups Boehner and McConnell.

The Three Stooges. I laugh off my rear when I hear Pence opine that he too might one day be POTUS. Pence is the proverbial legend in his own mind.

The impotence of the RINO establishment Republicans like Pence, Boehner, McConnell, et al., is one reason I blew off the last election. Nothing changes when we keep electing men like these... men with no cojones at all... to power.

They huff, they puff, and in the end, do NOTHING to defend the US Constitution. And that means they are doing NOTHING to defend me and voters like me.

Elections? Taking the time to vote with the result being no change? Why would I bother????

Maine said...

Gary I think you should check your facts. The 2007 immigration bill did not pass the Senate and failed three cloture votes that effectively killed the bill. The bill was subsequently called up again and also failed a cloture vote which killed the bill for good while Bush was still in office. When the new Congress took office in January 2008 a new bill was not considered due to the fact that it had little or no chance of passing (based on the prior years experience).

Anonymous said...

anybody wanna hear what your Indiana delegation in DC plans on doing about it? I posed just that question on IN Repub party facebook site and you know what? ive been banned from access and the post deleted!! hopey changey!!! uniparty!!! we r all screwed, but u knew that

Anonymous said...

I thought the Constitution required that The President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. I assert he is ignoring the laws and thinks he is our king.

He cannot even prove he meets the Constitutional requirement to be The President.