Posted: 2:00 pm Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Obama and immigration 

By Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The rhetoric has ramped up around illegal immingrants and especially the undocumented children at our country’s southern border. Today, an Atlanta immigration lawyer writes about the steps President Obama can take to relieve the situation, while a conservative commentator, an appointee to the state immigration board, says executive orders could unlawful. Also, an Emory University professor, the daughter of a mother who came illegally to the U.S. before becoming a naturalized citizen, ponders the question of who really belongs.

Commenting is open.

 

Obama can do much to help

By Charles Kuck

President Barack Obama has been timid, at best, in using his executive powers to alleviate the current immigration crisis, preferring to wait for what can only be described as a unicorn — bipartisan immigration reform. Recently, the president indicated he is ready to use this practical tool to inject rationality and humanity into a broken immigration system that is responsive neither to families nor business realities.

Executive powers are not a “loophole.” They have been used historically to interpret and implement immigration statutes and are commonly used by executive agencies. With these broad powers, Obama can do much to legally alleviate the current immigration crisis.

The president can issue parole-in-place for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are the beneficiaries of approved visa petitions. The attorney general has the authority to parole into the U.S. — for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit — any alien applying for admission to the country. Once granted parole, these individuals can obtain lawful permanent residence through U.S. citizen spouses. Parole-in-place has been used for immediate relatives of U.S. military personnel and for Cuban arrivals.

Obama also can instruct immigration officials to apply more discretion to favorably adjudicate waivers for undocumented immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. These individuals would be eligible to legally process their residence papers, if granted a waiver. Under a previous administration, immigration agencies exercised discretion favorably to stop deportation of certain Central American refugees.

The administration can find, as did the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, that those with temporary protected status are eligible to apply for permanent residence if they are the beneficiaries of approved visa petitions. Certain citizens of Haiti, Syria, El Salvador and Honduras, among others, have such status because of war or natural disasters back home.

Although the administration cannot increase the number of family and employment-based immigrant visas, it can alter the way family units are counted against the worldwide immigrant visa quota, counting only one number per family unit against the quota instead of each member of a family. This would open up the number of available visas and reduce the cruel wait times that separate families and deprive employers of skilled workers.

The administration can allow all foreign nationals with approved immigrant visa petitions to apply for waivers while in the U.S. Currently, this procedure is available only to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Foreign nationals who are not the beneficiaries of immediate relative petitions, but who nonetheless qualify for residence and are eligible for waivers, have to apply for waivers after being denied visas abroad. These waivers can take many months or even years to adjudicate. Fearful of not being granted waivers, many foreign nationals do not go abroad, even though many of these waivers would be favorably adjudicated.

The administration can extend the practical training granted to foreign graduates of U.S. universities, allowing U.S. employers to benefit from their talents. The administration has already done this for graduates in science, technology, engineering and math fields, people whose employers enroll in the E-Verify program. Why not offer this option to all U.S. foreign graduates? Doing so would free up the professional H-1B work visa, which Congress has capped so that the total number of visas available to foreign professionals is exhausted on the first day the visa becomes available.

The administration can grant work permission to spouses of H-1B, TN, and H-1B1 professionals and O-1 extraordinary workers, further alleviating pressure on the H-1B quota. Executive authority has already been used to grant spouses of other nonimmigrant visa categories the right to work.

Certainly, many in Congress will criticize the president’s use of executive powers in the immigration arena. It is within Congress’ power to enact laws; it is within the executive’s power to interpret those laws. The president has given Congress sufficient time to pass meaningful immigration reform, and it has failed to do so. Though the president has been a great advocate of bipartisan immigration reform, the ball is now in his court. What will the president do? We certainly hope he takes the lead.

Charles H. Kuck is managing attorney at Kuck Immigration Partners, Atlanta. He served as the national president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association from 2008 to 2009.

Executive orders would be extreme

By Phil Kent

At the same time U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner is pursuing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama, charging him with an unconstitutional overreach of his executive authority, debate swirls around how much the president could unilaterally act to address the nation’s growing illegal immigration crisis.

In the past, Obama said there was little in his power to implement amnesty or to protect illegals living here from deportation. Now, in a turnabout, he is considering broad actions through executive orders.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, a member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, perhaps best sums up the grave bipartisan congressional concern with such a radical move:

“It would alter the constitutional framework in such a way that the founders would never have accepted. Plain law says if you’re in this country illegally, you’re subject to deportation and you are unable to work lawfully in our country.”

Sessions is a Republican yet several Democratic senators— most recently Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas— are also warning that such presidential action is unwarranted and that changes in the immigration law must be enacted by Congress.

The president’s general idea, articulated in a trial balloon floated to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, would — in direct contravention of established American law— offer safe harbor to millions of illegal immigrants with “roots” in their communities and “family ties” to U.S. citizens.

One presidential option under consideration would expand the program that offers work permits and protection from deportation to young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Another possible executive action would protect from deportation any illegal immigrants with children who are U.S. citizens. (According to the National Foundation for American policy, that segment alone accounts for about 4.4 million.) Administration officials are also toying with a “parole in place” scheme, which has a different and fuzzy legal foundation but would direct the federal government to issue work permits to 11 million-plus illegal immigrants.

Unilaterally decreeing such actions would, of course, steer our ship of state into dangerous legal waters. Amnesty by executive order would be a violation of the oath of office that stipulates a president will faithfully enforce our nation’s laws. It would be a direct challenge to the clear constitutional powers of Congress to only make laws.

Pressure is being applied on the White House from congressional Republicans and a growing number of Democrats not to take such an astonishing and extreme route. On the other hand, issuing the proposed executive orders is being demanded by the highly-vocal “open borders” lobby that raises money for politicians all across the country. By the way, Sessions is promoting legislation to counter any executive orders — an approach that ought to have bipartisan appeal. The bill says that if the president goes forward unilaterally with executive orders, he cannot use any taxpayer dollars to carry out unlawful amnesties or work authorizations. The congressional power of the purse would trump the president.

Of course, if the president had enforced current laws on the books much of the illegal immigration problem would have been under control years ago. But since that didn’t happen, a big question now looms: What if Congress does not address the current border surge of Central American illegals or illegal immigration/border control in general? What exactly are the limits to what Obama would do? Since he is already considering an unprecedented, unlawful assertion of presidential power, why not just go ahead and grant amnesty to every illegal alien who sneaks into our country?

There will indeed be a constitutional crisis if the president moves forward hoping he can get away with simply issuing edicts. No wonder public opinion polls reflect that a growing number of Americans feel the real crime is not at the border but with cowardly politicians, regardless of party, who would abandon their duty to uphold our rule of law and defend our national sovereignty.

Phil Kent is a member of the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board.

Torn between two worlds

By Imelda Reyes

Years ago, I remember driving up to a “safety stop” in Roswell with my husband, shortly after Georgia implemented a law cracking down on undocumented residents. Though I was born and raised in the U.S. — maybe thanks to my olive skin and curly hair — I had to stop and show my license and registration as proof that I belonged every time I went through.

As we pulled up that day, I looked on incredulously as the officer waved my husband through as I sat shotgun. He didn’t have to show his license or car registration. He was able to just drive through. What was the difference? I am Latina. My husband is white. It was one of the moments when I began to feel like a guest in this country, and not at home.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the notion of who belongs here, as I watch the startling images of the 57,000 children stuck on the U.S. border. Many are fleeing dangerous situations in South and Central American and potentially face deportation. Many come from countries shaped directly by U.S. policy, whether from our support for various regimes or the fact that the U.S. is the largest importer of illegal drugs, as the Huffington Post reported.

Even coming from my relative privilege as an Emory professor with a doctorate, the coverage of the crisis has forced me to ask the same question: Who really belongs here?

My mother came to the U.S. from Mexico illegally 40 years ago and married my U.S.-born father of Mexican descent, who was from the southern Rio Grande Valley and labored as a migrant worker in Michigan.

We may not “look” like a typical American, but who is a typical American? At some point, many of us had family members who emigrated from other countries. We came looking for something better. Is it so easy to throw these people away because they supposedly don’t look like us?

I was lucky. My dad knew English and understood the importance of education and emphasized that early on. He knew that it meant I would have a totally different life. I remember his stories of feeling odd when he encountered separate drinking fountains for people of color. He didn’t really fit into either category, black or white, so he shared that he would get funny looks from both sides.

What he didn’t foresee is that I would encounter many of the same prejudices. He also couldn’t possibly have guessed I would be picked on for sounding “white” while growing up. Or that people would say I have gotten to where I am because of programs for minorities.

I am thankful for what I have, but it hurts to see those who look like me so easily discarded. The immigration issue can’t be solved that easily. But when we start to relate to each other as humans, maybe we can open the doors to a more humane policy.

Imelda Reyes is an assistant clinical professor in nursing at Emory University and a public voices fellow with The Op-Ed Project.

18 comments
LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist


After William Casey’s first staff meeting as head of the CIA in 1981, he said, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false”...

What they all believed and knew is that you could fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, and too many of the people too much of the time. What Casey and other American politicians also know is that you need not fool all of the people all of the time, since if you fool enough of the electorate enough of the time, you could discredit the rest of the people and get re-elected as well as push through your political agenda.

Amen? 


LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist

I have told everyone the truth about what was being lost in the hodge-podge of illegal/legal immigration.It must be difficult for persons in Monica Lewinski’s generation to hear or read the truth. If you remember correctly, Lewinski is the lady that said she has never told the truth. Just think of the degree truth-telling has fallen in the successive generations.The truth must be extremely difficult to hear or read for most Americans etc since it is seldom heard or written in the United States.


Amen?

Starik
Starik

There's something about this blog that causes a lack of participation; maybe the AJC could restructure it to attract the people who use the other blogs like Get Schooled, Bookman and Wingfield.  Bag ladies and religious nuts post there too, but there's sometimes a serious discussion.

LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist

My vision to see has not always been 20/20. But the focus of my comments today is primarily derived from indirect experience, and I might add from an objective point of view.


Somewhere in your American being you must know that my comments are true, or you most certainly should sense the positive spiritual energy emitting from them.


Amen?

meno
meno

All the proof in the world can’t convince a person who refuses to see. LOL


Spoken from direct experience?

LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist


By the way, Obama is not a black man.Try delivering the proof to African Americans. LOL


Amen?



LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist

There shouldn’t be a question regarding the orchestrated movement of children to America’s borders in the tens of thousands.It has not happened in the past.It will not happen in the future except the powers that be determine millions more are needed.All the proof in the world can’t convince a person who refuses to see. LOL

Amen?

meno
meno

I suppose you can offer proof of this "conspiratorial or orchestrated unlawful movement".  Maybe, all the people buying drugs and exporting guns in America have been in on it all this time so Obama can look like he's a humanitarian.  Amen?

LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist

I guess my last comment pertaining to an orchestrated attempt to get children into the country not qualifying for a hearing was not allowed to be posted on this sight.


It appears that I will have to continue posting exclusively on Dr. Cynthia McKinney’s facebook page.She may be the only person in the country free enough to allow Americans and others to post their honest opinions.


Amen?

LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist


Additionally, what should be understood in the law that Bush signed is that under normal conditions, children coming to our border should have hearings.But if there is a conspiratorial or orchestrated unlawful movement of children into America, the law that Bush signed does not apply.


Amen?


meno
meno

Hey "Lord and Savior" I actually challenge you to show that the white people who you say the USA belongs to, could have had much of a society without the blood, sweat, and tears of non-whites contributing to things every step of the way.  Also, since you want Obama to enforce the laws I guess you would say he should allow the children coming to our border into our country to have hearings to determine if they should stay--that's the law as Bush signed it. Amen?

LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist

Perhaps you want to know what a white American is. Any person originating in Europe who looks like any of the founding fathers and is genetically linked to their respecive grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. is regarded as a white American in the United States.

With the understanding of what a white American is going forward, you can see that too many illegal aliens acquiring amnesty in the long run challenges the question of racial ownership.And if the pattern persist, the outcome is predictable.

I challenge anyone to put forward a similar example in history where the racial dynamics of a country is altered by commission or omission and the end result was not violence.If Obama were wise, he would enforce the law and deport every illegal alien among us to their respective countries.


Amen?

LordandSaviorJesusChrist
LordandSaviorJesusChrist

In the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I believe what is being lost in the hodge-podge of illegal immigration is the acknowledgement that the United States of America belongs to white Americans; it was acquired by the conquest of Native Americans. The acceptance of this fact should be identical to the way we understand, without question, the Arab's ownership of Egypt.Egypt was acquired by the Arab's conquest of black Egyptians. 

All persons not considered white in the United States, excluding African Americans/Native Americans, should have a healthy respect for the real Americans.You have come to the country legally seeking a better life and, for the most part, have been accepted with open arms.


Amen? 

Odessah772
Odessah772

AMERICAN HISTORY

There is a glaring omission in American history. The subject is erroneously taught. Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America; there were people occupying the country when he arrived. They were badly treated, and moved onto land that could not support them.

Then, some other people were brutally brought here – to build the country without the benefit of minimum wage. They are still considered unfit for equal treatment. However, truth crushed to earth will rise again; the arc of justice bends slowly toward fairness and equality. These mistreated people have finally won the right to vote. They helped to vote into office one whose relatives helped build the White House. But because our captors think that the country belongs to them, they want to put him out of office.

These unjust occupiers are slowly losing their grip on the land they so ruthlessly took from the first occupants. They are now frantically trying to deny entrance to others who don’t look like them. Thank God that though the wheel of fate grinds slowly, it grinds exceeding well.

History would better serve Americans if it were re-written – truthfully this time. It could serve as a first act of reparations.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Obama and his Democrat minions do not care one whit about what illegals are bringing to this country in the form of disease, drugs or dependency, all they see are potential votes for the Democrats to keep power since the majority of independent voters have seen through the " Hope and Change " line of BS. We have immigration laws in place and have had for many many years but they don't serve the political purpose of the Democrats. The third world immigrants flooding into this country bring with them a third world set of customs which causes further sectarian isolation. Obama will leave office as the worst President in the history of the Nation and he WILL NOT CARE what damage he has done to the Constitution or the Nation.

LaKeisha
LaKeisha

Since when did it become "within the executive’s power to interpret those laws"?  I thought that was the province of the judiciary.

I notice that the immigration lawyer (how even-handed can you expect him to be?) claims that congress has failed to pass immigration reform...but congress is supposed to reflect the will of the people they represent.  And the American public believes that this new wave of immigrants should all be deported by a 53 to 68% margin (depending on which poll you choose.)  

We currently HAVE immigration laws, which are not being enforced.  And if President Obama simply announces that he is changing those laws by Executive Order, he will lose support even among some of us who support him generally.  

Mr. President, sir...enforce the laws we have...and PROVE that you will seal the border as tight as possible.  And then a majority of Americans...not most, perhaps, but a majority...will support reasonable immigration reform.  And it will probably include some sort of amnesty, though it might be called something else.  But there will be more support for it then, because we would know that in ten years there will not be ANOTHER 13 million illegals here, clamoring for more "immigration reform".

emilych
emilych

Obama has committed act after act to harm our country, but, opening our borders to terrorists, drug dealers, counterfeiters, run-of-the-mill criminals, all in the name of compassion for children actually SENT to the U.S. is one of the worst.  

These illegals will cost us billions of dollars if not returned to their home countries. They will overwhelm our schools, our hospitals, and what’s left of America’s fiscal stability.

Illegals are bringing tuberculosis, bacterial pneumonia, scabies, H1N1, Aids, potentially the ebola virus and all sorts of other contagious diseases with them.
 
Enough is enough, Send Them Home.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

The old " reparations " line again, it never fails to come from those with a chip on their shoulder and their hand out waiting on another freebie