At One-Year Anniversary of Immigration Actions, Administration Must Vigorously Defend Authority
Washington D.C. – This Friday, marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s announcement of his executive actions on immigration, which at their heart, are first steps towards common-sense reforms to an outdated immigration system.
The series of reforms range from temporary protections for an expanded group of unauthorized young people (expanded DACA) and parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA), to modernizing and streamlining the visa application process, to new guidance to better prioritize the immigration agencies’ use of their limited enforcement resources.
While the centerpiece of the executive actions—expanded DACA and DAPA—remains tied up in litigation, the Administration can and should use its uncontested authority to continue refining enforcement priorities and improving the operations and functions of the visa system. As the deferred action initiatives have become highly-politicized and are yet to achieve their intended goal—keeping families together while ensuring that the government’s enforcement resources are targeted toward real security threats—there is one aspect of these measures that remains unassailable: the President’s authority to take such actions.
Expanded DACA and DAPA are lawful exercises of prosecutorial discretion, the authority to determine enforcement priorities, and the Supreme Court has held that it is well within the executive’s power to decide how and when to enforce the law. States cannot and should not be able to use the courts to raise a policy dispute. The Administration must continue to defend its authority—one that has been used by every Administration since 1965—to shape immigration policy.
Unfortunately, the suspension of the expanded DACA and DAPA initiatives has real-life consequences for the five million immigrants who might qualify for temporary relief from deportation under them. Those who criticize these actions have yet to devise an alternative plan for moving forward on immigration reform. Yet, one year in, the need for meaningful reform—reform that is good for workers, business and families—remains.
To view our resources, see:
- A Guide to the Immigration Accountability Executive Action (Special Report, November 2014)
- Executive Grants of Temporary Immigration Relief, 1956-Present (Fact Sheet, October 2014)
Celebrating Citizenship for New Americans
SAN FRANCISCO — One year after the president announced new executive actions on immigration, the New Americans Campaign is celebrating the ensuing progress on citizenship.
Nearly 9 million green card holders living lawfully in the U.S. are eligible to become citizens. Because of last year’s executive order, substantial strides are helping to address the barriers to citizenship so that more people can gain rights, freedoms and responsibilities as new Americans.
“There’s another side of the immigration debate, and it’s important that we not lose sight of the milestones we have reached in welcoming new Americans to our communities,” said Melissa Rodgers of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, director of the New Americans Campaign. “We have witnessed the power of innovation and collaboration over the last year in breaking down the barriers to
“Working alongside the government and our network of partners since 2011, the New Americans Campaign has helped more than 180,000 aspiring new Americans complete their citizenship applications and save more than $161 million in legal and application fees by accessing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services resources and free or low-cost services from our partners. These services are available at local events held by our partners across the country each week.”