Political leaders in Washington have apparently slammed the door on any chance for achieving comprehensive immigration reform in 2014. Last week John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, reiterated to the President that the House would not be passing an immigration reform bill because he does not believe the President was “faithfully executing the laws. The Speaker does not view the record number of deportations as proof that President Obama will enforce the laws on the books. He also suggested that he intends to sue the President particularly if President Obama proceeds to issue any new executive orders on his own relating to immigration.
For the President’s part, he now has announced, in response, that he now believes this Congress will not pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill as the Senate did over one year ago. Accordingly, he has instructed both his Homeland Security Chief, Jeh Johnson, and Attorney General Eric Holder to present him with a list of executive actions which he could take within the contours of existing law. It is expected that he may proceed with some measures similar to DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which may further stem the tide of deportations which have rattled immigrant communities throughout the country.
Many immigration activists hope to see some relief for the parents of children who have qualified to stay in the country under the DACA program. Others would like for those who could have become eligible for citizenship under the DREAM Act, but could not qualify for DACA, to have the chance to stay in the United States legally. The general contours of the DREAM Act would have provided conditional permanent residency to certain immigrants of good moral character who graduate from U.S. high schools, arrived in the United States as minors, and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four-year institution of higher learning, they would obtain temporary residency for a six-year period. In 2010 a bill in the Senate garnered 54 votes for passage but because of the use of the filibuster by the minority party of that body, it failed to secure enough votes to make it to the President’s desk for signature.
In the meantime, it is critical, in the event that reform does become law that the immigration attorneys in this country be prepared for the new category of cases any new law is likely to generate. Edward Shulman, Esq, founder of The Shulman Law Group, LLC is a national speaker for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, and to advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice. In the course of Mr. Shulman’s involvement with AILA, he has been dedicated to educating other immigration attorneys about the import of helping intending immigrants to navigate a new cultural system. He meticulously follows all of the developments occurring in the battle over immigration reform so that he will be prepared to effectively assist his clients obtain residency if a new system is enacted.