Obama set to defy federal court on amnesty
Once again, President Obama is looking to defy Congress in implementing its immigration reform proposals.
This time, his administration is looking to also defy a federal court to achieve it.
A judge sitting on the 5th Circuit in Texas issued an injunction last June against the administration's regulatory plans to legalize millions of aliens in the U.S. illegally. The injunction was upheld by a federal appeals court in Louisiana, and the president's plan is now stalled while the administration works through the federal court system.
Except now there are plans afoot to change the regulations pertaining to green cards that would accomplish almost everything the president can't get from Congress or the courts. A leaked memo from DHS outlines four plans the administration is considering.
Ian Smith of the Immigration Reform Law Institute:
The internal memo reveals four options of varying expansiveness, with option 1 providing EADs to “all individuals living in the United States”, including illegal aliens, visa-overstayers, and H-1B guest-workers, while option 4 provides EADsonly to those on certain unexpired non-immigrant visas. Giving EADs to any of the covered individuals, however, is in direct violation of Congress’s Immigration & Nationality Act and works to dramatically subvert our carefully wrought visa system.
As mentioned, the first plan the memo discusses basically entails giving EADs to anyone physically present in the country who until now has been prohibited from getting one. A major positive to this option, the memo reads, is that it would “address the needs of some of the intended deferred action population.” Although DHS doesn’t say it expressly, included here would be those 4.3 million people covered by the president’s DAPA and Expanded DACA programs whose benefits were supposed to have been halted in the Hanen decision. On top of working around the Hanen injunction, this DHS plan would also dole out unrestricted EADs to those on temporary non-immigrant visas, such as H-1B-holders (their work authorizations being tied to their employers) and another 5 to 6 million illegal aliens thus far not covered by any of the President’s deferred action amnesty programs. By claiming absolute authority to grant work authorization to any alien, regardless of status, DHS is in effect claiming it can unilaterally de-couple the 1986 IRCA work authorization statutes from the main body of U.S. visa law. While DHS must still observe the statutory requirements for issuing visas, the emerging doctrine concedes, the administration now claims unprecedented discretionary power to permit anyone inside our borders to work.
Get a load of what the DHS bureaucrats think about illegals working in the U.S.:
The anonymous DHS policymakers state that a positive for this option is that it “could cover a greater number of individuals.” In a strikingly conclusory bit of bureaucratese, they state that because illegal aliens working in the country “have already had the US labor market tested” it has been “demonstrat[ed] that their future employment won’t adversely affect US workers.” The labor market, in other words, has already been stress-tested through decades of foreign-labor dumping and the American working-class, which disproportionately includes minorities, working mothers, the elderly, and students, is doing just fine. Apparently, the fact that 66 million Americans and legal aliens are currently unemployed or out of the job-market was not a discussion point at the DHS “Retreat.”
Smith concludes: "Bottom line: The memo foreshadows more tactical offensives in a giant administrative amnesty for all 12 million illegal aliens who’ve broken our immigration laws (and many other laws) that will emerge before the next inaugural in January 2016."
I'm not sure that judge in Texas will let the administration get away with this. When the government began handing out green cards anyway in defiance of the injunction, the judge, Andrew Hanen, threatened to arrest the lot of them for contempt. He forced the government to recall the green cards immediately. There will be no circumventing the law in his court.
But the plans may be untouchable because they don't directly stem from the series of executive orders currently being adjudicated. Of course, any plan to blanket the country in work permits for illegals will be challenged in court. But eventually, the administration may find a friendly judge who gives it the go-ahead.