Jan 032015

For many years, Johnny lived separately from his family in Manila. When US President Barack Obama announced his new immigration initiatives through executive action, he became hopeful that somehow he would be able to reunite with his family.

Johnny is looking forward to applying for the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability; or, the deferred action for parents of American citizens or lawful permanent residents.

If the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting his application, he will be able to apply for an employment authorization document.

With this document, he will be able to come out of the shadows and be a more productive employee. But, whether or not he will receive an authorization to temporarily travel outside the United States to visit his family in the Philippines is still unclear until the UCSCIS releases its regulations.

Despite this uncertainty, Johnny remains hopeful until he heard about recent roadblocks to Obama’s executive action on immigration brought about by lawsuits.

What are the effects of these lawsuits that were filed against Obama questioning the legality of the executive actions? What is the effect of limiting the federal funding of the US Department of Homeland Security?

Maneuvers to halt implementation

An Arizona sheriff in Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was quick to file a lawsuit against Obama alleging that actions by him are unconstitutional for overstepping his power by changing the law himself and bypassing Congress.

Last week, the US District Court dismissed this lawsuit.

Another lawsuit filed by the State of Texas and 24 other states also questioning the constitutionality of the Obama executive action is pending with the Texas US District Court.

This case is scheduled to be heard on Jan. 9.

Plaintiff states are requesting for a preliminary injunction on the implementation of the executive action on the basis of unconstitutionality.

President Obama is confident that he will prevail in this case considering that his actions are well within the legal authority of the executive branch of the United States.

This position is supported by a significant number of legal scholars who have written their support for the legality of the executive action. Obviously, these lawsuits are politically motivated.

Several civil rights, immigration and labor organizations have submitted their amicus (friendly) brief to the court in support of the executive action in an effort to have the case dismissed.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also was allocated its budget by Congress only until February 2015. This was a political maneuver by the Republicans intended to defund the DHS after they take over the House making it difficult to implement the Obama initiatives.

With all these roadblocks, there is still optimism among those who stand to benefit from these initiatives.

Not all the undocumented will benefit from the new policies but the estimated 4.5 million undocumented who are waiting for the DHS to implement the initiatives are keeping their faith that the Obama administration will surpass all these challenges.

The faith lies in the belief that these changes in immigration policies are not only legal but also morally right.

(The author may be reached at law@tancinco.com, www.tancinco.com, facebook.com/tancincolaw or at [02] 721-1963)

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