In the Absence of Congressional Action, Millions of Immigrant Families Deserve Relief
Yesterday, after the 5th Circuit Appeals Court ruled against President Obama’s DAPA/DACA expansion plans, the U.S. Department of Justice announced its intention to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Leading editorial boards and legal experts have been quick to weigh in and support the Administration’s ask that the Supreme Court take up the case and remedy the 5th Circuit’s mistake. See below for a sampling of recent commentary:
La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish language newspaper, editorializes against the politicized and deliberate delay by the 5th Circuit and urges the Supreme Court to act swiftly:
“The delay in their decision led some to speculate that the appeals court was dragging their feet to make it difficult for the Supreme Court to reach a final decision before President Obama left office, due to lack of time. However, considering the speed with which the gay marriage issue was decided, this case could surely be solved in 7 months.
“As things stand, nearly 4 million people ‒ the undocumented parents of young U.S. citizens currently protected by DAPA and undocumented minors who were brought into the country by their parents, covered by the DACA expansion ‒ are at risk of being deported. This is a minority among the undocumented population which, despite having their roots in this country, is being targeted by Republican presidential candidates promising to strike down all such executive orders, including DACA, which at this time protects over a million and a half youths.
“We hope that the Supreme Court will take on this case at the speed with which it is being appealed.”
“We were pleased on Tuesday to learn that the administration will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn that decision. We hope the court takes up the issue quickly.
“Nearly two-thirds of the nation’s estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally have lived here for more than a decade, and the vast majority of them play positive roles in the economy and in our communities. It doesn’t make sense to remove them all, and besides, Congress budgets only enough to deport some 400,000 people a year. So it is rational and necessary for the Obama administration to focus its enforcement efforts on those people who pose a threat to public safety, or whose criminal convictions make them ineligible for entry….
“Policy issues like these are best handled through legislation, not unilateral executive action by the president. But the American immigration system is unworkable and unfair, resulting in a permanent class of illegal workers. And although Congress has been discussing these issues for more than a decade, it has repeatedly failed to send a comprehensive immigration reform bill to the president’s desk. Obama’s executive actions do not create new laws but are reasonable exercises in prosecutorial discretion that we hope will offer some breathing room to millions of immigrant families while they wait for Congress to act.”
David Leopold, former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and one of the nation’s foremost experts on immigration law, discusses the decision and outlines a path forward for the Supreme Court:
“It may seem counter-intuitive, but in legal terms yesterday’s decision was actually good news for supporters of Obama’s immigration executive actions and for the millions of DREAMers, American children, and parents who have been patiently waiting for justice. There is still time for the U.S. Supreme Court to take it up this term and make a decision by June.…
“Of course the Department of Justice must now do everything in its power to get the case before the U.S. Supreme Court immediately. And once it gets there will be incumbent on the Supreme Court to clean up the integrity that 5th Circuit majority besmirched; to decide the merits of the GOP assault on Obama’s immigration actions without politicizing the case on a partisan basis; to base its decision on facts and precedent rather than conjecture, and do it without engaging in political delays.”
A Bloomberg View Editorial says that President Obama, “deserves a speedy answer” on the immigration issue:
“The Supreme Court can be expected to discount the disingenuous arguments of both sides, and it will not issue a ruling on the wisdom of Obama’s policy. But it shouldn’t evade the crux of the matter: How much authority does the executive have to address a public policy crisis when the legislature fails to act? The current decision says the Obama administration exceeded its authority, but others have concluded that, when it comes to immigration policy, the executive branch has wide latitude. How wide?
“Those are the questions the Supreme Court should attempt to answer. Current candidates for the presidency have proposed answers ranging from Hillary Clinton’s vow to exceed Obama’s executive actions to Donald Trump’s call for mass deportation. But it’s the Obama administration that has a concrete federal policy on the table.
“The program’s legality should be resolved before the high court’s current term ends next June. The president deserves a speedy answer, as do the millions of undocumented immigrants in legal limbo.”