While a great deal of media attention focuses on the political considerations involved in the contemporary debate over comprehensive immigration reform, the legal questions over whether the President can act to address these pressing issues unilaterally generally gets less discussion. However, a group of legal experts on these issues just released a letter contending the President has broad, expansive authority to provide some temporary relief for immigrants facing removal or deportation.
The document issued by the American Immigration Council and the National Immigration Law Center — was signed by over 130 professors, attorneys and experts, from many parts of the country. They point out that Presidents have always had significant prosecutorial discretion to establish a system which sets the parameters for utilization of limited enforcement resources. The letter suggests that the type of measures set forth in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program could be expanded to thousands more undocumented immigrants.
The letter goes further to point out that this kind of prosecutorial discretion is rooted historically in Constitutional interpretation, statutes and regulations issued by previous administrations. In fact, it outlines how the idea of deferring deportation or removal action predates DACA. Other Presidents also took executive actions to defer such enforcement options generally for humanitarian purposes where certain groups of people faced special hardships to a confluence of circumstances often beyond their control.
In addition, this group of immigration experts also sought to rebut two arguments which opponents of unilateral executive action have made. First, they push back on the idea that DACA, or some expanded version of the program, falls outside the contours of current law and provides quasi-amnesty to its participants. The relief granted is merely temporary and, as suggested above, the executive branch has always had discretion to allocate its enforcement resources. Second, the law places no limit on “the size of the group who may “benefit from an act of prosecutorial discretion is relevant to its legality.
The Shulman Law Group endeavors to ensure its clients be kept abreast of all significant developments relating to the process of naturalization to the United States. 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.