Obama`s Immigration Act Has Precedents But...[Pic]

Submitted by: jayme21 2 years ago in

Obamas Immigration Action Has Precedents, but May Set a New One

In 1986,Ronald Reagan signed the so-called amnesty law passed by Congress that granted legal status to three million undocumented immigrants, and then acted on his own the following year to expand it to about 100,000 more.CreditRon Edmunds/Associated Press

President Obamas action to shield millions of undocumented immigrantsfrom deportation and grant them work permits opens a new front in the decades-long debate over the scope of presidential authority.

Although Mr. Obama is not breaking new ground by using executive powers to carve out a quasi-legal status for certain categories of unauthorized immigrants the Republican PresidentsDwight D. Eisenhower,Ronald ReaganandGeorge H. W. Bushall did so his decision will affect as many as five million immigrants, far more than the actions of those presidents.

Mr. Obamas action is also a far more extensive reshaping of the nations immigration system.

The magnitude and the formality of it is arguably unprecedented, said Peter J. Spiro, a Temple University law professor. Its fair to say that we have never seen anything quite like this before in terms of the scale.

The breadth of Mr. Obamas decision is already raising serious legal and constitutional questions,fueling Republican charges of imperial overreachand worries among some Democrats of future fallout.

President Obama defended his authority to act on immigration and challenged Congress to pass its own legislative overhaul of the system.

Video by Associated Press onPublish DateNovember 20, 2014.Photo by Pool photo by Jim Bourg.

In an acknowledgment of the difficult questions of law and executive power Mr. Obama is raising with his action, the White House took the unusual step Thursday night of releasing the formal, 33-page Justice Department memo detailing the actions legal underpinnings. Such internal legal opinions are seldom revealed to the public.

The memo, White House officials and a broad array of legal experts assert that the presidents directive, announced Thursday night in a prime-time address to the nation, rests on firm legal ground.

As chief executive, they say, Mr. Obama has virtually unfettered prosecutorial discretion to decide when he will or will not prosecute criminal infractions.

They also say that because Congress does not appropriate nearly enough money to deport all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants estimated to be living in the United States, the president is obligated to choose whom he deports, so he cannot reasonably be accused of usurping lawmakers authority or failing to execute the law.

The key is that the presidents actions will still leave millions of undocumented immigrants to go after, and that will be with resources appropriated by Congress that still make barely a dent in the remaining population, said Stephen H. Legomsky, a Washington University law school professor who was chief counsel of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2011 to 2013.

The White House also released a letter Thursday night signed by 10 of the nations top legal and constitutional scholars, including Laurence H. Tribe of Harvard, a noted liberal, and Eric Posner of the University of Chicago, a conservative, that called the new policy lawful and within the power of the executive branch.

Still, some lawyers critical of Mr. Obama argue that by publicly grouping a large number of undocumented immigrants who are not subject to American law and granting them a special status, the president has gone far beyond the limits of prosecutorial discretion and crossed the line into legislative fiat.

This action certainly looks a lot more like, Im changing the rules of the game, rather than Im just choosing not to exercise my discretion, and that runs counter to Congresss power to decide what the law is, said Shannen W. Coffin, who in the George W. Bush administration was a Justice Department lawyer and then counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney. Its highly questionable as a constitutional matter.

As the chief executive, Mr. Coffin added, the president has a duty to enforce the law, and while declining to do so may not be unconstitutional in every case, at some point when youre doing it en masse, youre doing something very damaging.

Previous presidents who used their executive authority to shield undocumented immigrants confronted little of the fury that Mr. Obama now faces, in part because their actions affected fewer people and the issue was not as polarizing at the time.

Back in the 1980s, immigration was controversial, but there was a bipartisan consensus that we had to reform immigration laws, said Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell University.

In 1986, Mr. Reagan signed the so-called amnestybill passed by Congress that granted legal status to three million undocumented immigrants, and then acted on his own the following year to expand it to about 100,000 more. That action extended the amnesty to immigrants who had left the country and then used fraudulent documents to be readmitted, and shielded from deportation minor children whose parents qualified.

Mr. Bush moved in 1990 to allow 1.5 million undocumented spouses and children of immigrants who were in the process of becoming legal permanent residents to stay in the country and obtain work permits. At the time, that amounted to about 40 percent of the immigrants living without documentation in the United States. Mr. Obamas order would affect about 45 percent of the undocumented immigrants.

The numbers matter because legal scholars say a presidents discretionary power on immigration is not unlimited. Were he to refuse to deport any immigrants, Mr. Obama could open himself to a constitutional challenge that he was failing to live up to his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

The announcement on Thursday was the latest presidential grant of deferred action, a concept in immigration law that was also the basis for Mr. Obamas 2012 directive granting two-year deportation reprieves to undocumented immigrants younger than 30 who had been brought to the United States as children and had graduated from high school or joined the military.

The presidents new policy expands that 2012 order by removing the age limit and applying it to anyone brought to the United States as a child before 2010. But Mr. Obama declined to include the parents of those immigrants, after administration lawyers concluded that doing so would exceed his authority.

David A. Martin, a University of Virginia law professor who was a counsel at the Department of Homeland Security in 2009 and 2010, said that beyond the question of whether Mr. Obama was staying within the bounds of his power, the bigger problem for the future was one of precedent. Even if his directive is legally defensible, Mr. Martin said, Mr. Obama may be paving the way for future Republican presidents to act similarly to contravene laws that Democrats cherish.

It is problematic if presidents can just make major inroads in programs that Congress has enacted and funded, he said.


May set a new one. Who wants a Rep Potus to do the same thing with Taxes another Deadlock issue?
Credits: source
There are 24 comments:
Male 7,917
@5cats you always find some way somehow to blame all the problems on Obama. I love you man.
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Male 40,739
As usual (for me) I`m far more angry with the MSM`s refusal to REPORT the actual NEWS than I am at Obama`s stupidity.

I expect politicians to be stupid, lie & cheat. It`s what they do!

But I expect the MSM to report the NEWS not the SPIN of only one party! That`s the biggest problem facing America today: garbage information from the very sources that are supposed to "inform the public" in an UNBIASED manner so they can make proper decisions! On any subject one can think of...
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Male 40,739
@maddux32: Thanks for the long & polite answer!

I didn`t want to stereotype you as a "Perry Mason" eh? Since IDK what your job is, and it doesn`t really matter if you`re up front or behind the scene in court.

"Born in the USA" is pretty rare, internationally, isn`t it? If you`re born in MOST countries it doesn`t mean you`re an "instant citizen", right?

What little we know of about ObamaPlan? That`s what we`re all going on. What else can we do? Say nothing until it`s far too late? Not that I have any delusions that MY opinion will change anything, lolz!

So "deport the poor ones" might BE OBAMA`S PLAN? Why isn`t the MSM screaming about that?

So honest ones (with honest lawyers) might get deported anyhow, while dishonest ones might be more likely to stay? See: that`s messed up! Exactly why I think Obama`s "plan" is stupid.

But I expect nothing less from Obama! All talk, no action.
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Male 65
To many words. I remember coming to IAB for pictures, games, and videos. Now it`s littered with mundane news pieces.
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Male 926
Of course, some immigrants work under the table...just like LOTS of citizens to avoid paying taxes. Back taxes are limited to the governments ability to prove taxable income. In this sense, it will be no different then citizens filing their taxes every year. Some will cheat, most will not. The government knows it...and it`s ok. The government will recover some back taxes where before they wold recover none. Bonus...the children are not thrust upon the government`s foster care program. Everybody wins....

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
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Male 926
Therefore, any lawyer telling them not to pay will be guilty of MALPRACTICE and will likely lose their license.

"And for the many families who cannot pay? If paying would drown them in debt? Is it a "good idea" for them, or should they BE DEPORTED for not paying? See? It`s a joke."

One of the things immigrants wishing to stay here legally usually have to do is demonstrate their ability to remain here without the assistance of government aid. Therefore, like I said below, any payment plan to pay back taxes is not going to drown families in debt. They will pay a percentage of disposable income, whatever that entails. My guess is that prosecutors will have prosecutorial discretion to challenge those without the financial means to remain here, financially independent, raising their children. That would defeat the purpose of DAPA.

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Male 926
Nobody knows exactly the mechanics of Obama`s DAPA initiative. But it appears that if it can be determined that back taxes are owed, in order to secure relief a prospective applicant will have to show some ability to pay back taxes. They won`t all have to be paid at once, and likely a payment plan will be instituted for the three year duration of their DAPA status. It might not be payment in full, substantial compliance may be enough, but they have to pay something. Failure to pay will institute removal proceedings where DAPA will be revoked, and absent some other form of relief, they will be deported.

My guess is that the payment plan will be based on a percentage of disposable income. It would be no different if you tried to negotiate a plan to pay your back taxes with the IRS. The difference being, when you don`t pay, advanced collections ensue. When they don`t pay, they get their ass deported.
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Male 926
- I don`t remember name calling, if I did...sorry, it`s the holidays. What I do remember doing is categorizing your arguments as adolescent...as in undeveloped, immature, unprepared...which they were.
- I treat the judge with respect...cause if I don`t...sanctions.
- I treat my clients like people, because I genuinely feel honored to supply a voice where they cannot, and I believe that I work ardently in the interests of justice. And where I fail, I`d like to believe that the safeguards put in place to ensure justice work more often than not.
- Lots of lawyers are sleaze bags...lots. But the majority of lawyers I know are good people interested in doing the right thing.
- "If it`s not illegal? WHY would any lawyer NOT tell them to refuse to pay? They`ll still get in! It`s legal, they win! Logic"

You see...this is where your argument turns adolescent...let me explain
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Male 926
To answer your questions 5Cats.

- I`m in court every day; I appear in front of a judge every day. On the rare days I don`t, it is a very welcome respite from the daily grind. Such as today.
- You can`t accuse me of over-simplification when you basically dismissed all undocumented persons as, "illegals." Many of my clients were brought here as children, without the good fortune of having been born here. For sure, some of them entered illegally as adults...but an alarming majority of my clients came here as children, and have nothing to go back to (no social, cultural, or familial ties to their places of origin; America is what they know. They`ve been educated here, begun lives here, yet they`re something less than citizens because of the sins of their parents. Adults in their 20`s and 30`s who entered illegally makes up maybe 10% of my clients. The rest are hard working law abiding individuals fighting for some form of legal status. They don`t want to be illegal
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Male 40,739
@maddux32: Well, I was going to congratulate you for being a "good lawyer" but since you cannot even discuss SIMPLE FACTS in a forum? You`re obviously not. Over-simplification much? Never mind your name calling, what are you, 12? How do you act in court? Or even while advising clients? Sheesh.
(I know that most `lawyers` don`t actually appear in front of a judge, eh?)

SOME lawyers are sleaze-bags who will do whatever it takes for their client to win. It`s a fact!

If it`s not illegal? WHY would any lawyer NOT tell them to refuse to pay? They`ll still get in! It`s legal, they win! Logic!

And for the many families who cannot pay? If paying would drown them in debt? Is it a "good idea" for them, or should they BE DEPORTED for not paying? See? It`s a joke.
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Male 296
@maddux32 I hope what you say is true because this just turned into one of my favorite threads ever.
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Male 1,983
5Cats Isn`t looking so good

LOL
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Male 926
@5Cats I AM A LAWYER...who deals with immigrants on a daily basis. When someone tells an immigrant to "lawyer up," I`m the guy they call. And when they`re ability to remain here legally hinges on their ability to come up with a plan to pay back taxes, I can assure you "not paying taxes," will not be the advice that comes out of my mouth.

You have no idea what you`re talking about. Attitudes like yours are the reason nothing gets done in this country. Props to Obama....as to you, Sod off. I`m finished addressing your adolescent arguments.
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Male 15,261
Enjoy your tacos!
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Male 1,412
I don`t pay taxes now, and I am a citizen. Why would I volunteer to pay 5 years of back taxes?
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Male 40,739
@maddux32: Sure, honest folks would pay their "back taxes"... these are illegals. And they will doubtlessly "lawyer up" and be told to NOT pay, since there`s probably no way of pinning down who earned what...

Why has Obama chosen THIS moment? The new House & Senate haven`t even MET YET! How could they get anything done? It`s obviously pure politics. It will likely HARM the very people Obama claims to be helping, in the long run.

1) Glad you think so! Now get into the boxcar... (re-education camps are a fixture of Communist Dictatorships, eh? And are also "perfectly legal"...)

5) Because stupid things American Gov`ts do usually end up harming Canada, one way or another.
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Male 1,558
usa NO NO NO
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Male 926
FURTHER....Obama is not bypassing the Constitution. He is exercising powers granted to him by the constitution, which can be summarily undone by the next president with the stroke of a pen. What he did makes others uncomfortable because it is unprecedented in its scope. It`s been done before.

He forced change in an area where congress has been unwilling to act, for purely political reasons (saving their ass). What he did, for the next two years, will save the government money in aid to immigrants, and gain some money back in the form of back taxes and new taxes by pulling from legitimate immigrant income.

1) The end justifies the means
2) The means are not unconstitutional
3) If the only attack on his action was that Obama`s actions are unconstitutional, the argument fails on its face.
4) The changes to immigration reform are all positive
5) Why are you mad?
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Male 926
"And Obama`s "plan" isn`t even realistic. Does anyone (not directed at @maddux, just to be clear!) HONESTLY BELIEVE families are going to pay 5+ years of "back taxes"? Based on what records? Plunging them into further poverty? Nope. It ain`t happening."

Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them will, which is decidedly better then none of them paying. Yes...pretty realistic. And even if most of them don`t, the fact that they will be financially responsible for their children is decidedly better than burdening them on the government.

And no...they haven`t passed any bills that address the issue. Matter of fact, they have done the exact opposite of that. When it comes to immigration reform, they have done absolutely nothing. Good on Obama for having some balls.
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Male 40,739
@maddux32: They passed lots of Bills, over 300! On various things. They got killed by Reid`s Senate.
Obama had every opportunity to:
- pass whatever law he pleased (2 years of majority in BOTH houses!)
- negotiate with the Repubs (had 4 years)
- tell Reid to pass various Bills and sign them
- tell Reid to pass various Bills and VETO them

He chose to do... NONE of those! Obama did, not anyone else. NOW he faults Congress for "not passing" Bills which HE BLOCKED (via his proxy in the Senate).

And furthermore: "The end justifies the means" is NOT a valid reason to by-pass the US Constitution without even TRYING to negotiate!

And Obama`s "plan" isn`t even realistic. Does anyone (not directed at @maddux, just to be clear!) HONESTLY BELIEVE families are going to pay 5+ years of "back taxes"? Based on what records? Plunging them into further poverty? Nope. It ain`t happening.
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Male 926
I applaud what Obama did. And I love what he said to Congress. "You don`t like it...pass a bill." So sick of hearing republican vs. liberal...STFU, stop trying to push your agenda and do what`s best for the country. PASS A BILL.
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Male 926
The bill makes too much sense. By allowing parents of united states citizens to gain temporary legal status, it prevents those same united states citizen children from being orphaned draining government resources. Instead, parents are granted temporary legal status, are ordered to pay taxes and any back taxes owed, and families are kept together. Of course there is potential for abuse, but EVERY system put in place will be abused. Further, criminals are now priority number 1 for deportation, which as a criminal defense attorney makes my job a lot harder. Commit a felony...get your ass out of here. Misdemeanor sentenced to over 90 days? Oh, and you`re undocumented? Gone. There is a lot of win with what Obama did, even if it chaps some asses.
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Male 40,739
Exactly! This is the very thing the US Founding Fathers tried to stop! The notion of "A King" circumventing the Constitution and "dictating" the law without checks & balances.

It`s funny how the group most harmed by this, young blacks, is in support... their massive unemployment rate isn`t going to drop if 5 million MORE low-skill workers arrive on the scene...

And this is far from the first time Obama has shredded the US Constitution:

- Ordered AG Holder to NOT enforce US Immigration Laws
- Fought in court to PREVENT States from enforcing laws
- gave `defacto` amnesty to 120,000 "applicants" regardless of criminal status.
- `invited` 50,000 "unescorted children" into the USA and gave them defacto amnesty.

I`m sure there`s more, but it`s an ongoing pattern, not a "one time" thing.
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Male 1,380
At some point we actually have to work together. Democracy kinda sucks without compromise.
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