Is President Obama Secretly Planning Immigration Reform Without Congressional Approval?
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Is President Obama Secretly Planning Immigration Reform Without Congressional Approval?

July 30, 2010, 3:14 pm
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Is President Obama Secretly Planning Immigration Reform Without Congressional Approval?
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by Moses Apsan

Perhaps President Obama does have what it takes to help the millions of undocumented immigrants and their children waiting anxiously on the side liens for comprehensive immigration reform.

Apparently in an undated, internal draft memo by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services uncovered Thursday details "administrative relief options to… reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization."

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The memo reads "In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform USCIS can extend benefits and/or protections to many individuals and groups by issuing new guidance and regulations."  It further describes the probable steps the agency could take to resolve the country's estimated 12 million unauthorized immigrants.  This may include awarding some groups conditional legal residency.

These ideas were discussed in a draft memo   prepared for Alejandro N. Mayorkas, director of the federal agency that handles immigration benefits,  This Thursday the unexpected document was made public by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who along with six other senators wrote to Obama over  a month ago,  They asked for his  promise that some type of help was in the works for the millions of illegal immigrants.

"The administration has failed to reassure us that the information we were hearing was inaccurate," Grassley said in a statement to ProPublica Thursday night. "This memo gives credence to our concerns that the administration will go to great lengths to circumvent Congress and unilaterally execute a back door amnesty plan."

A controversial portion of the memo involves the use of "deferred action,"  The power of deffered action lies in the fact that at the agency's discretion it can indefinitely delay the deportation of otherwise deportable non-citizens. "This would permit individuals for whom relief may become available in the future to live and work in the U.S. without fear of removal," the memo said.

The memo clealy discussed that granting deferred action to an unrestricted number of people "would likely be controversial, not to mention expensive."   As an alternative, it recommends that this alternative be used for specific groups, such as the many thousands of  young people who would be allowed to stay in the country if Congress passed the Dream Act. That bill would grant a path to citizenship for qualifying young people who complete a college degree or two years of military service and entered the United States before the age of 16.

The memo would reverse the  position currently held by the agency's Office of General Counsel under previous administrations, The memo recommends  granting green cards to people currently in the country under Temporary Protected Status. That status usually granted to people of certain countries that have suffered major calamity, such as earthquake, hurricane and civil war.

Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform awill certainly be elated should such action by the administration come to pass.  It will further vidicate, Obama’s commitment to the immigrant community.

As expected,  Republican senators are in a panic and  have written to immigration officials in the Obama administration asking them to disclose whether large-scale plans are truly under way to provide  what they call a non-legislative version of amnesty.

These republicans wrote a second letter last week to President Obama suggesting "the administration would be wise to abandon any plans for deferred action or parole for the illegal population. Such a move would further erode the American public's confidence in the federal government and its commitment to securing the borders and enforcing the laws already on the books.”

Attorney with over 35 years of experience. Past president Federal Bar Association NJ Chapter (1997-2002). Offices in New York, NY, Newark, NJ. Tel: 888-460-1800 and
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