5 things to know about the fight over Obama’s #immigration actions

Originally posted on MSNBC.com

By David Leopold

Late Monday night, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen temporarily blocked President Obama’s executive actions on deportations, which were challenged in federal court by Texas and 25 other states.

The immigration actions, which were set to begin going into effect today, expand DACA to undocumented immigrants over the age of 30 who arrived in the U.S. as children and create DAPA, a discretionary temporary deportation reprieve for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful residents. For now, both initiatives are on hold while the administration files its appeal with the court of appeals.

Here’s what else you need to know.

What is the Texas lawsuit about?

At bottom, the states claim that President Obama unconstitutionally bypassed Congress last year by offering deportation reprieves through executive action. The administration – with the support of 12 states, the District of Columbia, 33 cities, 27 police chiefs, highly respected legal scholars and nonprofit organizations – counters that DACA expansion and DAPA are solidly legal and that presidents of both parties have used their executive authority to grant similar deportation reprieves.

Why did the judge block the executive actions?

Judge Hanen focused on Texas’ claim that it would suffer financial loss by having to issue driver’s licenses to DACA and DAPA recipients. As he has done in previous cases, the judge used his 123 page order as a bully pulpit to excoriate the administration’s immigration enforcement policies. (The DACA program, which went into effect in 2012, was not affected by the judge’s order.)

Yet despite halting the immigration initiatives, Hanen did not rule that Obama in anyway exceeded his lawful authority or violated the constitution. Instead he ruled on very narrow, highly technical legal grounds: That the executive actions did not comply with the rule making requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. The administration argues that the deportation reprieves are solidly legal and well within the president’s authority to focus limited immigration enforcement resources on the deportation of terrorists, felons and gang members – not DREAMers, and mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

What happens now?

Judge Hanen’s order is of course an unwelcome setback for supporters of the president’s executive actions, but it’s hardly a fatal blow to DACA expansion or DAPA. The final decision – which most legal experts are confident will uphold the president’s immigration actions – will come from a much higher court; probably the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s how it will work: The Obama administration will appeal Judge Hanen’s decision to the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court. The higher court will likely take several weeks or months to decide the case. In the meantime, both the DACA expansion and DAPA will remain on hold. The government will not accept applications for either program, but potential applicants would be well advised to continue to collect documents so they are ready to apply when the injunction is eventually lifted.

If the Fifth Circuit reverses Judge Hanen’s order – as many experts expect it will do – the DACA expansion and DAPA processes will go forward as planned. If not, the president’s executive actions could be delayed for many more months while the administration asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

Importantly, Judge Hanen’s order is hardly the final word. It’s just the first act in what could be a very drawn out play that may conclude in the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the meantime, what happens to the DREAMers and parents who qualify for DACA plus and DAPA?

The law requires Obama to set immigration enforcement priorities – to decide, in effect, which undocumented immigrants should be deported first. Last November, when he announced his immigration executive actions, the president said he’ll prioritize the deportation of “felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a Mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids.”

What that means for immigrants who would qualify for the DACA expansion and DAPA is that, as long as they are not a deportation priority, their cases will remain at the bottom of the enforcement barrel while the Department of Homeland Security focuses on getting rid of those who threaten the safety of American communities.

How does the judge’s decision affect the larger battle over comprehensive immigration reform?

At the time Judge Hanen ruled on Monday, congressional Republicans were trying to figure out how to break a stalemate that threatens to shut down the Department of Homeland Security over GOP opposition to the president’s executive actions on immigration.

Hanen’s injunction clearly complicates things for the GOP. Conservative Republicans may harden their position against compromise with Democrats and the administration on homeland security funding. On the other hand, Hanen’s order temporarily halting the implementation of DACA expansion and DAPA arguably takes the issue off the table – at least for now – undercutting those in Congress intent on using homeland security funding to kill the president’s immigration initiatives.

Yet despite the GOP’s apparent obsession with creating an immigration system characterized by chaos and mass deportation, one thing is crystal clear – the DREAMERs and undocumented parents the Republicans long to deport are not going anywhere. They are already home.

Stay tuned.

Do Republicans have grandparents too?

Originally posted on Neil Steinberg’s blog.

This is my grandfather, Irwin Bramson. I don’t believe his picture has ever appeared in a newspaper before. He would be delighted to see it here.
My grandfather was not famous, or successful, beyond supporting his family, working in a factory in Cleveland that made machine parts. He eventually owned his own house, on Rossmoor Road in Cleveland Heights. He was very proud of that.
My grandfather was born on a farm in Bialystock Poland, in 1907 and was sent to this country because things were very bad there and he had a relative, a distant cousin in Cleveland who owned an automobile parts factory and would employ him. He left at 16 and never saw any of his family again; they were all murdered, man, woman and child by the Nazis and their henchmen.
When he got here, he no doubt faced the scorn of those who felt that America was being corrupted by racially inferior immigrants such as himself that all manner of subhumans and Jews, were poisoning American blood, that they were constitutionally different and would never fit in.
But he did fit in. He never went to college, but he met my grandmother, got married—they went to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago on their honeymoon in 1934. They had three daughters, my mother being the eldest. Had they been born in Poland, they all would have been murdered too.
All of my memories of him involve him sitting in a green Barcalounger, watching “The Price Is Right.” He smoked cigarettes and drank bourbon. He sucked Luden’s Cherry Cough drops for his throat—he would die of emphysema in 1981.
He taught me chess. He would give me a dollar if I won and a dollar if I lost. He took me to my first baseball game. There was nothing mean or difficult about him. He did not complain. He asked nothing of anybody. In fact, he rarely spoke. He was a simple man, and I loved him.
Everyone in the United States, unless they are a Native-American, has a person like my grandfather in their past, someone who came over here to escape hardship or horror and make a life. Whether it was 5 or 50 or 500 years ago, the story is the same. They came over and the country let them in.
My grandfather became a citizen, not because he was a genius, not because he was harder working or smarter or better than any Mexican fording the Rio Grande. But because he could back then. There was an Ellis Island and a system that worked. Today Ellis Island is a shrine to ideals that half the country doesn’t believe anymore, who adopt the cruel role of the Americans who harassed their own forebears.
I thought of my grandfather, after I watched Barack Obama’s brief speech Thursday night—lucky I have cable because none of the networks, the supposed mainstream media supposedly in his thrall, bothered to show it. He announced his changes to immigration policy, to allow undocumented immigrants who have been here longer than five years to “get right with the law,” register and not fear deportation.
Before Obama even spoke, the Republicans, who oppose everything the president has done, is doing, or will do, made a show of opposing this too, a rare trifecta blending economic myopia, longterm political suicide, and lack of basic human decency. Only time will tell if they respond by trying to impeach him, shut down the government or some new strategem. The only thing that they are certain not to do is pass the comprehensive immigration reform which, announcing his stopgap, Obama called for.
That this is the right thing, that it is long overdue, that it will help the United States economy, that to do otherwise is cold hypocrisy and a denial of their own family, an insult the memory of my grandfather and theirs and the millions like him, never wrinkles their brow.
My wife and I watched the speech.
“He looks tired, frustrated,” my wife said.
“He’s trying to talk sense to idiots,” I said.
I’m glad I saw the speech, because I was starting to think very little of Obama, just by osmosis, just by living in a country where he is so despised. I wish he had done this three months, six months, a year ago. Not doing so was the kind of small, mean political calculation that has hobbled his presidency. The Democrats got drubbed anyway.
But now I realize, the bottom line with Obama is: he did what he could do. He didn’t waste effort trying the impossible. Even his narrowed options were tough to manage.
The good news is, he’s already won.
As with gay marriage, the notion of no longer keeping millions who came to this country illegally in rightless limbo forever will seem an impossibility until suddenly it doesn’t and everybody wonders what took us so long to do the moral thing. Then the people who are castigating the president now will be hard to find. Cornered, they will shrug off their fanatical opposition to people just like their own grandparents with some easy rationalization. What really struck me about the president’s speech is he could speak the words at all, that he somehow found the stamina to present a cogent argument to rabid enemies who stopped listening long ago. There is a nobility to that.

A personal postscript to an amazing week of #immigrationAction

2014-11-22 West WingFriends, I was honored to be among a handful of civil rights and immigration leaders and advocates invited to meet with President Obama in the West Wing of the White House on Thursday afternoon shortly before he announced his Immigration Executive Actions.

As I sat in the Roosevelt room with the President I was taken with thoughts of my grandparents and my dad, Holocaust survivors from Germany, who were given refuge in this great country. We owe so much to those who brought us to this day. And we owe a lot to future generations. I was truly humbled to be a part of this historic moment.

Last night families across America who’d grown accustomed to living in fear went to sleep knowing that in the morning they would wake up safe and together.

That’s not hyperbole, that’s a reality for families throughout the country.

There is a Talmudic saying that “if you save one life, it is as if you have saved the world.” This week the President used his authority to make the immigration system work better until Congress finally fixes it. And, in so doing, the President has “saved the world” for millions and millions of hard working honest people.

At the same time we must remember that what the President has done is only a first step; millions more families continue to live in the shadows, fearful of being separated from their loved ones every time they leave their homes to buy milk at the corner store, medicine for their children, or simply fill the car with gas. This is not who we are as a nation, as people, as a culture.

The step Mr. Obama has taken to make the immigration system work better is a bold and courageous (and yes–solidly legal) use of his lawful authority as President of the United States. But only Congress has the power to fix the antiquated, rigid and outdated immigration policy that plagues this country, devastates families, stymies American business and inhibits job creation.

We can only hope that amid the calls for lawsuits and legislation to block the President’s executive actions Republican congressional leaders will find the guts to do the right thing by the American People.

.@americasvoice: Two Key Points Regarding #Immigration Executive Action

For Immediate Release:                                             Contact: Michael Earls

August 12, 2014                                                                                202-494-8555


Two Key Points Regarding Immigration Executive Action

Opposing Legislative Reform and Executive Action Perpetuates Immigration Status Quo;

Former AILA President David Leopold Explains Why Executive Action is Legal


Washington, DC—Two new opinion pieces, in Spanish and English, further two of the key points to understand regarding potential executive action on immigration:


  1. Doing nothing, either via legislation or executive action, is the true radical option on immigration and an endorsement of the failed immigration status quo
  2. President Obama has broad legal authority to act on immigration policy


A new column from America’s Voice Senior Advisor Maribel Hastings, running in leading Spanish-language outlets, captures that Republicans are endorsing the broken immigration status quo by refusing to legislate on reform and then preemptively criticizing the president for taking executive action.  Writes Hastings:


“Only in the twisted world of immigration politics do the contradictions win out: The House of Representatives won’t legislate, but they blame the president for believing he’s a king if he issues executive orders.  They denounce ‘illegality’, but with their inaction they perpetuate the status quo of real illegality where it’s impossible to know who is among us.


Authority and discretion exist and they’re legal.  If they’re not used now for partisan political considerations it’s another matter.  But the last thing Obama should care about is what the obstructionist Republican opposition says.  If they don’t like executive action, then legislate.”


Former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), David Leopold, writes a new opinion piece in The Hill that adds to the volume of existing analysis showing that potential executive action on immigration rests on solid legal footingLeopold writes:


“Even Mr. Obama’s most ardent critics must concede that his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the immigration law gives him wide latitude in its enforcement.  What’s less clear are the limits of that authority.  How far can the President go?


The reason this is not an easy call is because the line between exercising discretion over enforcement and crossing over to policy making is often blurred.  One thing that exemplifies this is determining when a case-by-case grant of discretion crosses over to a categorical grant.  Critics like to argue that case-by-case exercises of discretion are acceptable but categorical are not.


But it does not follow that this crosses that line.  As long as the administrative decision to defer the removal of a group of undocumented immigrants is legitimately aimed at more efficient use of law enforcement resources, it arguably falls well within the President’s discretion.  This includes the discretion to defer the deportation of undocumented immigrants—individually or as a group—if doing so allows the administration to focus resources on keeping the country safe.


In fact, Presidents of both parties have used categorical grants of deferred action to postpone the deportation of large groups of undocumented immigrants, including abused women, hurricane victims and refugees.


Therefore, to violate the constitution, the President’s action must be a dramatic, extraordinary departure from universally accepted exercises of executive discretion.  DACA or its expansion don’t even come close…


…Legally therefore, DACA is not much different than executive discretion contemplated by the Morton Memo, which even conservatives concede was well within the president’s authority to issue.  Like the Morton Memo DACA or its expansion is nothing more than a temporary postponement of deportation for undocumented immigrants whose removal is a low enforcement priority. This temporary reprieve from removal falls far short of amnesty which, presumably, would offer qualified undocumented immigrants a new set of rights and obligations, including lawful immigration status and a pathway to citizenship coupled with due process rights, including the right to defend against denial or revocation.


Critics like to say that the availability of employment authorization or the use of forms and fees pushes the DACA process or its expansion over the blurry line from lawful discretion to executive lawlessness. But they conveniently forget (or are not aware) that the president’s authority to authorize employment of immigrants is long-standing and already well-established in the law.  The regulation that grants work authorization to immigrants granted deferred action predates DACA and applies to many other categories of people granted deferred action, such as abused women, hurricane victims, and refugees.  The president’s authority to grant work status long precedes DACA, and while it does apply to DACA and would apply to its expansion, it is not an outgrowth of either…


…Those who challenge President Obama’s authority to act on his own to limit deportations fail to make the case that DACA or its expansion is such a dramatic departure from the Morton Memo (or other universally accepted forms of prosecutorial discretion) that it constitutes the naked power grab they claim.  It’s not enough that it looks different, it must be different; significantly different from what is accepted as lawful discretion.  But it isn’t significantly different.


In other words, it’s legal.”


Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice.
America’s Voice – Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform

  1. americasvoice.org


More nastiness from @SenatorSessions on #immigration

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) injected his own brand of nastiness into the debate over the plight of the Central American refugees fleeing Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador for other countries in the region, including the U.S.

Not surprisingly, Sessions fails to offer a single constructive policy solution; just more partisan rancor, including the absurd claim that the crisis is the result of the Administration’s failure to enforce the immigration law.

Of course Sessions does take the opportunity to call for an end to DACA and the deportation of DREAMERs.

Read the letter here:  2014-07-14 Sessions Letter

When It Comes To immigration Reform, GOP Insists On Being The Party Of ‘No We Won’t’

Originally Posted on Fox News Latino

Daniel Neyoy Ruiz, an undocumented immigrant has, quite literally, turned to his church for an eleventh hour stay of deportation.

Since last week Ruiz, his wife and his U.S. citizen son have been held up in the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona after it offered him refuge from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which seems to have an insatiable appetite for devouring mixed immigration status American families.

Ruiz, who is from Mexico, was scheduled to be deported last week but instead chose indefinite detention in the church, which has a three decade history of offering sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.

Until Boehner and Cantor decide to show some political courage, good people like Mr. Ruiz will be forced to seek sanctuary in churches to protect their families from ICE agents looking to meet deportation quotas.
– David Leopold

There is more than a little irony in an undocumented man fleeing to a church to protect his family while the GOP controlled House of Representatives – whose leaders are quick to tout religion and “family values” – do nothing to keep mixed immigration status American families safe and together. Never mind that recent polls show overwhelming support by Republicans (64 percent), Democrats (78 percent) and Independents (71 percent) for immigration reform, including a legal route to lawful immigration status for the 11 million undocumented noncitizens living in America. And that’s not just a cold statistic. That’s 11 million undocumented Americans – mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers – who came to this country like generations of immigrants before them, to build a better life for future generations.

Of course it’s not quite fair to say that the House GOP has done nothing on immigration. To the contrary, they have voted to deport DREAMERs and, as I write this, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is devoting his energy (and your tax dollars) to blocking the Enlist Act which would allow some undocumented immigrants to serve in the U.S. military and, under certain circumstances, earn green cards. The legislation was introduced Monday by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Va.) as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. But Cantor is vowing to not even allow debate on the bill.

It’s almost like House Republican leaders are looking for ways to further alienate Hispanic voters and threaten the GOP’s national viability.

Imagine if Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the rest of the GOP leadership paid the same deference to the will of the American people that they do to the extremists in their party. An immigration overhaul would likely already be the law of the land and hard-working fathers like Mr. Ruiz would be supporting their families, continuing to pay their taxes and further contributing to the fabric of their communities.

But until Boehner and Cantor decide to show some political courage, good people like Mr. Ruiz will be forced to seek sanctuary in churches to protect their families from ICE agents looking to meet deportation quotas at the expense of common sense enforcement.

If the Republicans insist on being the party of “No We Won’t” when it comes to immigration reform, then President Obama should once again insist that “Yes We Can.” There is plenty the President can do to stop the humanitarian crisis which plagues the nation and bleeds American families in places like Tucson, Arizona, Seattle Washington, and Painesville, Ohio. Mr. Obama has the legal authority to broaden DACA, the temporary deportation reprieve he gave to qualified undocumented youth in June 2012. He could also order Attorney General Holder to review the onerous evidentiary burdens placed upon immigrants seeking waivers from immigration judges due to the extreme hardship that deportation would cause their U.S. citizen and lawful resident family members. Further, the President could use statutes already on the books to allow the qualified undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens to apply for green cards without having to leave the country and risk being banned from returning to their families for 10 years.

It’s a sad day in America when an undocumented immigrant is forced to seek haven in a church to keep his family together. I am sure that many Americans will pray for him and other undocumented immigrants who are caught in the web of a broken, rigid and unforgiving immigration system.

In the meantime, it shouldn’t take a miracle for the House of Representatives to do its job and pass immigration reform.

.@GOPLeader Cantor’s March-April memo, still no #immigration reform. #TNTweeters

GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s memo to House Republicans outlining the March-April 2014 Legislative Agenda is full of empty rhetoric but sadly–for the American people–fails to include immigration reform legislation.

Despite the fact that poll after poll show that the American people–Republicans, Democrats and Independents–want the House GOP to stop dithering and start fixing the immigration system, Cantor apparently doesn’t think immigration reform is important enough to put on the GOP “to-do” list.

It’s high time the House Republicans stop playing partisan politics with America’s future and start working for the American people.

DACA Renewal Information Released By DHS Applies Only To Cases Granted By ICE From 06/15/12 Until 08/15/12 http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-process/ice-granted-daca-renewal-guidance

“This notice contains renewal information only for those individuals granted DACA by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from June 15, 2012 until August 15, 2012, when USCIS started receiving requests. Our records indicate that this notice only applies to a small fraction of the DACA population. This notice does not apply to any individuals who received deferred action by making a request to USCIS using Form I-821D on or after August 15, 2012. In the coming months, USCIS will issue guidance about the renewal process for this group.”


.@SpeakerBoehner, Listen to Your Own Caucus; #TimeIsNow for #Immigration Reform

Path To Citizenship

Rep. Jeff Denham: 11/13/13: “This issue is not dead…I think it’s important to do it this year.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/13/13]

Rep. Mike Coffman: 11/10/13: The Denver Post reported, “Coffman says he believes they should eventually be able to apply for citizenship.” [The Denver Post, 11/10/13]

Rep. David Valadao: 10/29/13: Rep. Valadao Press Release: “Congressman Valadao expressed his support for a pathway to citizenship for those currently undocumented in the United States as well as his desire to ensure the issue was addressed this year.” [Office of Rep. David Valadao – Press Release, 10/29/13]

Rep. Jeff Denham: 10/27/13: “I support an earned path to citizenship to allow those who want to become citizens to demonstrate a commitment to our country, learn English, pay fines and back taxes and pass background checks. This is a common-sense solution to our broken system. I also support a faster pathway for the children who were brought here by their parents through no fault of their own, who have been raised in America and educated in our schools and have no other country to call home.” [Office of Rep. Jeff Denham – Press Release, 10/27/13]

Rep. Jeff Denham: 10/4/13: “I support a pathway to earned citizenship that starts by requiring those applying to learn English, pay fines and back taxes, and wait in line behind those who have already applied for citizenship legally. The Senate’s proposal establishes a three-step process to earned citizenship, following current law for achieving both a green card and ultimately citizenship, if desired.” [The Modesto Bee, 10/4/13]

Rep. Bob Goodlatte: 9/19/13: “I wouldn’t give them what I would call a special pathway to citizenship…I would give them an earned pathway to citizenship.” [Politico, 9/19/13]

Rep. Chris Stewart: 9/5/13: “QUESTIONER: You’re saying you do – you’re okay with them getting citizenship? Not blocking, necessarily, but it would be along the same lines as they are now.  So kind of like Chaffetz said, he agrees with the path to citizenship, not a special path and not no path. Would you second that?

STEWART: I think that’s exactly right. As I understood what you’re saying to me I think what you said was exactly right.” [YouTube, 9/5/13]

Rep. Steve Southerland: 8/30/13: The Miami Herald reported, “Conservative tea party Congressman Steve Southerland has become the latest Republican to voice support for the concept of a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. ‘We have to address it. It’s a moral issue,’ Southerland, who represents a conservative Deep South district encompassing Panama City and Tallahassee, told The Miami Herald during a Friday meeting in Miami. Southerland’s support isn’t full-throated or guaranteed. He said he needs to see the details of actual legislation. He wants strict, real and fast border security.” [The Miami Herald, 8/30/13]

Rep. Mark Amodei: 8/14/13: “At the end of 10 years, if you want to become a citizen, you go to the (federal immigration system) and start the process just like anybody else…I don’t think that’s amnesty.” [Reno Gazette Journal, 8/14/13]

Rep. Mark Amodei: 2/10/13: The Las Vegas Sun reported, “…unlike many members of his party, Amodei is amenable to the idea of a pathway to citizenship — and says an entry program that doesn’t respect the principle of family reunification is a nonstarter.   ‘I’m willing to look at that — if all you’ve done is broken the immigration law, to be able to earn your way to a state where you can apply for citizenship,’ Amodei said.” [Las Vegas Sun, 2/10/13]

 Rep. Spencer Bachus: 7/10/13: “I support a pathway to citizenship because I don’t believe we should have a second class of citizens.” [Wall Street Journal, 7/10/13]

Rep. Spencer Bachus: 6/13/13: “And — because I don’t think we ought to have two classes of long-term residents, I even support a pathway to citizenship. But I do think it ought to be earned.” [CQ Transcriptions – Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte Holds a Hearing on the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, 6/13/13]

Rep. Jason Chaffetz: 8/21/13: “There should be a pathway to citizenship, not a special pathway, and not no pathway, but there has to be a legal, lawful way to go through this process that works and right now it doesn’t.”  [KTVX-SLC (ABC) – Salt Lake City, 8/21/13]

 Rep. Mike Coffman: 7/24/13: The Denver Post reported, “Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from Aurora…said he believes comprehensive immigration reform, increased border security and a provisional legal status for the millions of undocumented people living in the United States now needs to happen mostly simultaneously. Then, when it has been proven the border is secure, a pathway to apply for legal citizenship should be opened for all undocumented people, he said.” [Denver Post, 7/24/13]

 Rep. Mike Coffman: 7/21/13: “I believe that these young people should be afforded a pathway to citizenship.” [Denver Post, 7/21/13]

 Rep. Jim Costa: 7/1/13: “We must give the 11 million people that are currently living in the shadow the opportunity they deserve to become a part of this great country of ours.” [Fresno Bee, 7/1/13]

Rep. Jeff Denham: 8/22/13: The Patterson Irrigator reported, “When asked point blank by several of the people who gave testimonies whether he supported a pathway to citizenship Denham didn’t waiver.  ‘I have and I will,’ he said.” [Patterson Irrigator, 8/22/13]

Rep. Jeff Denham: 8/8/13: The Modesto Bee reported, “Denham met with many members of the informal group previously in June, about the time the U.S. Senate was passing its comprehensive immigration reform bill. He has publicly supported the sweeping legislation, but it has met roadblocks in the House…‘The Senate bill won’t get a vote in the House, and it’s something that could have helped this community,’ Denham said to the some 25 people present. ‘I am frustrated. I thought we’d get this done before the August work period. I think the Senate made tremendous progress. It was done bipartisan and I thought that would be enough to get the House moving forward.’  [Modesto Bee, 8/8/13]

Rep. Charlie Dent: 8/21/13: “For the balance of those folks, I think it will be a long hard trek to a legal status, and for some that may ultimately result in citizenship.” [Video via Washington Post, 8/21/13]

Rep. Charlie Dent, 6/27/13: “Many members, including myself, are open to some kind of earned path to a lawful status that, to many, would result in earned citizenship.” [L.A. Times, 6/27/13]

 Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart: 7/14/13: “BOB SCHIEFFER: Congressman Diaz-Balart, do you think that the House can come up with some sort of plan that deals with the 11 million people that are in this country now? Because it seems to me, until you can come up with some realistic plan to deal with them, the rest of it doesn’t really matter.

REP. DIAZ-BALART: No, I think we will reach that — that point.” [CBS News – Face The Nation, 7/14/13]

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart: 6/28/13: “…we have to deal with the reality, whether we like it or not, that there are millions of people who are here, we have to figure out a way to come out of the shadows…And then give those who have been here for many, many years, who have been working, a way to earn their way into legalization.” [Bloomberg – Political Capital With Al Hunt, 6/28/13]

 Rep. Blake Farenthold: 7/3/13: “Getting to citizenship is going to be tough, but never say never.”[New York Times, 7/3/13]

Rep. Bob Goodlatte: 7/11/13: USA Today reported, “‘I and other members are open-minded to the idea that [undocumented immigrants] should have a way to come out of the shadows, to be able to work, to have their own businesses, to pay their taxes, to travel back and forth to their home country and elsewhere.’  After attaining that status, Goodlatte said, they could then apply for legal permanent residence and eventually U.S. citizenship through avenues that are already available to foreigners…” [USA Today, 7/11/13]

Rep. Michael Grimm: 7/30/13: WNYC reported, “Congressman Grimm recently told reporters that citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally is ‘the ultimate goal.’” [WNYC, 7/30/13]

Rep. Joe Heck: 8/12/13: “I believe that the pathway that the Senate bill has laid out is a reasonable pathway. I think when you look at having to go through background checks, having to pay a fine, having to make sure that your tax liabilities are paid, making sure that you’re in a provisional status for a period of time, where you have to learn English, you have to show that you’ve got a job — there’s a lot of safeguards here.” [Video via Washington Post, 8/12/13]

Rep. Joe Heck: 7/19/13: “I’ve said, and I’ve always said, that I think a tough but fair pathway to earned citizenship that doesn’t allow anyone to jump to the front of the line, that has certain benchmarks that need to be met, like the ability to show that you can support yourself and your family, that you can speak English, that you have a clean criminal and national security background check, that I would support those.” [KNPR, 7/19/13]

Rep. Darrell Issa: 2/6/13: “Ultimately, if you’re allowed to remain in this country permanently, in almost all cases, there should be a path to citizenship. That is what Abraham Lincoln would have said. That’s what the Republican Party stands for.” [Real Clear Politics, 2/6/13]

Sen. Ron Johnson: 5/8/13: “It is not healthy to have 11 million undocumented individuals in a country. We need to find out who those people are, provide them some sort of legal status.” [Shorewood Patch, 5/8/13]

Rep. Mike Kelly: 7/14/13: “So is there a path to citizenship? I think there is.” [CBS News – Face The Nation, 7/14/13]

Rep. Peter King: 6/5/13: “As far as if we do have security — and I feel that it’s never going to be 100 percent — but as close to full security as possible for the future, then I believe we should legalize those that are here.” [New York Daily News, 6/5/13]

Rep. Raul Labrador: 3/20/13: “What I think should happen is anyone who is here illegally can come out of the shadows, become legalized in some way, have some legal status, and that status could lead to legal permanent residency and citizenship eventually…” [CNN, 3/20/13]

Rep. Raul Labrador: 6/5/13: “If we can fix the borders, if we can deal with future flow, if we can do interior enforcement, I think [conservative members’] positions on the citizenship issue will begin to soften.” [National Journal, 6/5/13]

Rep. James Lankford: 7/10/13: The Associated Press reported, “‘I wouldn’t prohibit forever’ people from getting citizenship, said Congressman James Lankford, a Republican. ‘I’m a Christian, and restitution and reconciliation’s a big deal. If you do something illegal or inappropriate you should be able to resolve that, face the penalty, clear it and be forgiven.’” [Associated Press, 7/10/13]

Rep. Kevin McCarthy: 8/7/13: The Daily Pilot reported, “[Rep. McCarthy] promoted a guest-worker program and legal status for many immigrants but stopped short of offering a path to citizenship.   ‘What you then have to address is the 11 million that are here considered illegal,’ he said. ‘I personally believe it’s different for someone who’s been here 30 years than if they’ve been here three months.’” [Daily Pilot, 8/7/13]

 Rep. Pat Meehan: 7/9/13: “It’s within my contemplation that we’ve got to figure out some kind of earned legal status for people who are here… It’s impractical to assume that we’re going to move 12 million people out of our borders.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/9/13]

 Rep. Gary Miller: 4/5/13: The Press-Enterprise reported, “‘I think whatever you’re going to do, you’re not going to take people that came here illegally and put them in the front of the line,’ [Rep. Miller] said. ‘You’re going to put them in line to become citizens.’   When [Radio Bilingüe’s Samuel Orozco] asked Miller whether he would support ‘earned legal status and citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants,’ the congressman responded, ‘What you said there is something I would agree with. You said earned. I think that’s appropriate.’” [Press Enterprise, 4/5/13]

Rep. Devin Nunes: 7/23/13: The San Francisco Chronicle reported, “The Chronicle contacted every GOP House member from California. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, was the only other Republican [besides Rep. David Valadao] to support a pathway.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/23/13]

Rep. Tom Reed: 8/19/13: “On the issue of immigration, especially when you bring up the kids, that is something that I’m sensitive to, that I recognize, that these individuals, especially the kids, came here innocently. And there needs to be a path forward for them. And that path forward includes citizenship.” [Video via Think Progress, 8/19/13]

Rep. David Reichert: 8/7/13:  “Now, what about those folks, though, that have been here 25 years, and they have family and they have kids that have come over, their kids have gone to school, they came over when they were little, now they’re high school age and they’re graduating?  What do you do with those people? You don’t arrest them….I want them to pay a fine, there’s some penalties they have to through, steps that they are going to go through. I want to hold them accountable and then they get citizenship and pay taxes…” [KVI Talk Radio 570, 8/7/13Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: 2/6/13: “I’m in favor of a citizenship path…”  [Real Clear Politics, 2/6/13]

Rep. Paul Ryan: 6/24/13: “At the end of the day, if everybody else in line who came here legally and did everything right is through the system and a person then, after an exhaustive period, after a probationary period, after a green card, not consuming any government benefits, wants to get in line like everybody else for citizenship, we should allow that person to do that…That’s earning the right to be a citizen.” [Washington Times, 6/24/13]

Rep. Paul Ryan: 7/10/13: The Washington Post reported, “[Rep. Paul Ryan] has held private meetings with members of the group and has reached out to other Republicans to try to find support for a comprehensive plan that would include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally.” [Washington Post, 7/10/13]

Rep. Mark Sanford: 7/16/13: The State reported, “US Rep. Mark Sanford believes Congress ultimately will pass an immigration reform bill that contains a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers already in the U.S…‘Once it leaves House, I think it will be the Senate side that prevails,’ he said Monday.  Sanford supports a path to citizenship after U.S. borders have been secured, he said.” [The State (SC), 7/16/13]

Rep. Aaron Schock: 8/5/13: “I think there needs to be a secure border, and when that happens and people pay their back taxes, and they haven’t committed any violations of laws. They have been here on a probationary period, then they can apply for citizenship…” [Town Hall event via YouTube, 8/5/13]

 Rep. David Valadao: 7/23/13: “There’s no reason why such a route to citizenship shouldn’t be on the table.”  [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/23/13]

Rep. David Valadao: 7/1/13: “Once you talk to the members and explain to them it’s a process, where they can work for it, appreciate it and someday become citizens — just like my parents did — most members begin to understand.” [Fresno Bee, 7/1/13]

Rep. Greg Walden: 6/3/13: USA Today reported, “[Walden] endorsed the inclusion of a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million immigrants now in the United States illegally. ‘If they pay a fine, if they true up in all their areas and then go to the back of the line, there’s probably a way then that they can get there,’ he said.” [USA Today, 6/3/13]

 Rep. Daniel Webster: 8/4/13: The Orlando Sentinel reported, “On the same day Congress adjourned for a five-week break, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster did something he’s avoided for months: speak at length about immigration reform and declare his support for an approach that would give unauthorized immigrants a pathway to citizenship..” [Orlando Sentinel, 8/4/13]

 Senate Bill/Need For CIR

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart: 11/13/13: “I remain steadfast in the fact that the House needs to take up immigration reform. I urge Speaker Boehner to remain open to any options that allow us to solve this crucial issue. It has been said time and time again that our immigration system is broken, and we must come together to find a sensible solution to fix it. I continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on a bill that secures our border, respects the rule of law, strengthens our economy, modernizes the visa system, and addresses the millions of undocumented immigrants in a way that is both reasonable and humane.” [Office of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart – Press Release, 11/13/13]

Rep. Mike Coffman: 11/10/13: The Denver Post reported, “Aurora GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, who admits he has evolved his position on immigration because of his new district, says he believes in comprehensive immigration reform. But only after there is an independently verified secure border would he support allowing 11 million individuals living in the country without legal permission to apply for permanent legal status from a temporary status.”  [The Denver Post, 11/10/13]

Rep. Fred Upton: 11/1/13: “…the current system is really broken in every way…I will be part of a bipartisan effort to fix the problem, because it has to be fixed…To me, doing nothing is not acceptable….I do believe that we’ll have at least half our caucus for it…” [Kalamazoo Gazette, 11/1/13]

Rep. David Valadao: 11/1/13: “We’ve got to do something…Leadership has to recognize that this is important to more of us than less of us…” [Los Angeles Times, 11/1/13]

Rep. David Valadao: 10/30/13: The Hanford Sentinel reported, “Denham made waves last week when he thumbed his nose at GOP leaders and announced himself as a co-sponsor of a bipartisan immigration package called HR 15. The measure cleared the Senate last year, but has gotten little support in the GOP-dominated House. ‘If my signing on to it helps move the [process] forward, I’m happy to do that,’ Valadao said, adding that he’s still working with House Republicans to see if an alternative package is possible.” [The Hanford Sentinel, 10/30/13]

Rep. David Valadao: 10/29/13: “Many of my Republicans colleagues in the House understand the benefits of comprehensive immigration reform and they too would like to see legislation come before the House for a vote….I will do everything in my power to ensure that immigration reform is addressed in the House of Representatives before the end of the year.” [Office of Rep. David Valadao – Press Release, 10/29/13]

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: 10/29/13: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Press Release: “Today, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida Congressional delegation, announced her support for H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, a comprehensive bipartisan bill to fix the current, broken immigration system.” [Office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – Press Release, 10/29/13]

Rep. Jeff Denham: 10/27/13: Rep. Denham Press Release: “U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today announced his co-sponsorship of H.R. 15, the House immigration bill introduced October 2, 2013 by Representative Joe Garcia (D-FL), on Univisión’s Sunday show ‘Al Punto.’ Rep. Denham is the first Republican to co-sponsor the bill.” [Office of Rep. Jeff Denham – Press Release, 10/27/13]

Rep. Devin Nunes: 10/10/13: The Fresno Bee reported, “Nunes said it’s ‘vital’ to national security and that he wants to ‘secure our dangerous southern border while providing a humane solution for illegal immigrants already in America.’” [The Fresno Bee, 10/10/13]

Rep. David Valadao: 10/2/13: Politico reported, “Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) said, ‘there’s a lot of good things’ in the Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill and indicated some interest in the House Democratic plan. ‘If there’s some common-sense legislation out there, it doesn’t matter who starts it,’ Valadao said. ‘If there’s an opportunity to do something that’s moving the ball forward, I’ll look at it.’” [Politico, 10/2/13]

Rep. Spencer Bachus: 6/13/13: “And I — I think you know that I have advocated for a comprehensive approach.” [CQ Transcriptions – Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte Holds a Hearing on the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, 6/13/13]

Rep. Eric Cantor: 8/4/13: “We will have a vote on a series of bills at some point, Chris. And it will deal with a variety of issues. Border security is a really important issue. Because it goes to the trust factor as well. We also, as you know, I have been very active in promoting what I’m calling a kids’ bill. It’s not — and it says that you ought not hold kids liable for illegal acts of their parents.”  [Fox News Sunday, 8/4/13]

Rep. Mike Coffman: 7/21/13: “A comprehensive immigration reform proposal must incorporate three essential elements: it must secure our borders and provide for the effective enforcement of our immigration laws; it must contribute to the economic growth of our country; and it must be compassionate in keeping families together.” [Denver Post, 7/21/13]

Rep. Tom Cole: 7/14/13: “I am not surprised that the Senate bill can’t make it in the House…But I do think the eight senators that started the effort produced a decent product. And I think it got better. That’s why it picked up Republican support along the way.” [ABC News – This Week, 7/14/13]

 Rep. Jeff Denham: 8/9/13: “The Senate bill won’t get a vote in the House, and it’s something that could have helped this community…I am frustrated. I thought we’d get this done before the August work period. I think the Senate made tremendous progress. It was done bipartisan and I thought that would be enough to get the House moving forward.” [Modesto Bee, 8/9/13]

Rep. Cory Gardner: 8/9/13: “I strongly support immigration reform.” [Sterling Journal-Advocate (CO), 8/9/13]

Rep. Doc Hastings: 8/13/13: The Columbia Basin Herald reported, “[Rep. Doc] Hastings also addressed immigration reform, which he hopes passes by the end of the year.” [Columbia Basin Herald (WA), 8/12/13]

Rep. Joe Heck: 7/4/13: “There are some good things in [the Senate bill] …I think there are things in there that can serve as a framework for some of the House bills…”  [Las Vegas Sun, 7/4/13]

 Rep. Darrell Issa: 2/5/13: “Well, I think that the Senate was ahead of everyone, and on a bipartisan basis they outlined some of the structures of a good, bipartisan bill.” [FOX News Happening Now, 2/5/13]

 Rep. Raul Labrador: 7/10/13: “It’s a good start, there’s a lot of good things in the Senate bill…” [MSNBC – Alex Wagner, 7/10/13]

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: 6/28/13: “I support it [the Senate bill]…We are a nation of laws and we are also a nation of fairness and opportunity and I think that that bill strikes that balance…” [CNN, 6/28/13]

Rep. Paul Ryan: 7/10/13: The Washington Post reported, “[Rep. Paul Ryan] has held private meetings with members of the group and has reached out to other Republicans to try to find support for a comprehensive plan that would include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally.” [Washington Post, 7/10/13]

Rep. David Valadao: 7/9/13: The Fresno Bee reported, “[Rep.] Valadao said the Senate bill was a good start, and a path to citizenship should be part of immigration reform, but ‘everything should be on the table,’ he said. ‘At the end of the day, we have to get something that works for everybody and something that works for the long term.’” [Fresno Bee, 7/9/13]

Here’s What Could Happen If DREAMers Lose DACA

PHOTO: graduate

 Originally posted by ABC NEWS/Univision
April 29, 2013

In August 2012, the Obama administration started a program that allowed young undocumented immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S. on a temporary basis.

So far, more than 488,000 people have applied, and 268,361 have been granted a deportation reprieve under the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

One of the biggest worries of applicants, however, is what might happen if the program ended. They might find out relatively soon.

lawsuit challening the legality of that program appears to be gaining traction.

See Also: Schumer and McCain See Huge Majority for Immigration Bill

The suit was filed by several parties, including Chris Crane, a union leader for federal immigration agents. It makes the case that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is breaking the law by choosing not to deport undocumented immigrants it deems a low priority. By low priority, we’re talking about undocumented young people and immigrants with a clean criminal record and an established presence in the U.S.

The agents are being represented by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has helped draft state-level laws targeting undocumented immigrants, like Arizona’s SB 1070.

The case is still in its early stages, so figuring out how the judge will rule means a little bit of guesswork. Educated guesswork, but still not certain.

Kobach says he’s hopeful that the court will rule in his favor. But what that means for DREAMers all depends on which parts of the case the judge upholds, if any.

As Kobach sees it, certain aspects of the case could void DACA, and potentially lead to the deportation of undocumented immigrants participating in the program.

“I would hope that the law would be followed, and the law states very clearly that most of the individuals that are covered by DACA are to be placed in removal proceedings,” he told ABC/Univision.

But David Leopold, general counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, sees things much differently. He doesn’t expect the program to stop.

First of all, Leopold has doubts that the lawsuit will be victorious. An order released earlier this week favored the plaintiff. But the judge, who presides over a federal district court in Texas, is still considering whether he has jurisdiction over the matter.

Even if the challenge is successful, Leopold thinks it will only mean some extra red tape for the people in the program and DHS.

court order issued by the judge last week focuses on a particular aspect of the immigration process — when an immigration agent determines that someone is in the country without authorization.

The focus on that one particular aspect shows that the judge considers that part of the case to have merit, but perhaps not the other parts of the case, Leopold said.

If that scenario plays out — with the judge ruling favorably on this one aspect — it won’t be hard for DHS to find another way to administer DACA, Leopold said.

The department could just decide to give someone deferred action later in the immigration process. Yes, the ruling would force agents to detain someone they believed to be in the country illegally. But later stages of the process could be altered to keep DACA alive.

People in the program would likely have to go to a court hearing, sign some papers and would then be released again, Leopold said.

The change wouldn’t take effect right away, either. The government could ask for a delay in making the change, and could file an appeal. We’re still in the early stages of the case.

The Obama administration strongly supports the program and believes DACA won’t go away as a result of the lawsuit.

Peter Boogaard, a DHS spokesperson, the agency being sued, said that the department is “fully confident” that DACA will survive the legal challenge.

“As the Supreme Court made clear just last term, DHS has the authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion at all stages of the immigration process,” he said, “and DACA is an appropriate exercise of that authority.”

All of that should be good news for DREAMers, who took the risk of exposing their immigration status to enroll in the program. But even with the possibility of a favorable outcome, the uncertainty around the case could keep people from applying, according to Leopold.

“Does it scare DACA applicants? Of course it does,” Leopold said. “And I think that’s exactly what Mr. Kobach wants to do, and his client, Mr. Crane.”

Kobach said the case is not a scare tactic, but has legitimate legal weight.

“The end goal is to require the administration to follow federal law,” he told ABC/Univision. “There’s been an attitude of lawlessness in some of the actions taken by the Napolitano DHS.”

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