Once a year immigration attorneys from all over the country march to Washington, D.C. to meet with their elected officials and to encourage them to take action toward fixing this country’s broken immigration system. The event is organized by the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is appropriately called the National Day of Action. This year, one of the issues we put on the list of things to discuss is family detention.
Media reports over the weekend indicate that the Obama administration is reacting in the worst way possible to the influx of unaccompanied minors along the Southwest Border. As the prospect of comprehensive immigration reform dies and leading House GOP members call for removal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees, the administration, once again, seeks to placate the most anti-immigrant portions of the population. Such a move is consistent with the administration’s long-held, and far too long stuck to, policy of ratcheting up enforcement to appeal to the nativists in the House GOP, hoping that this show of good faith would get them to support CIR.
Dear Congressman Bachus, Thank you very much for speaking out about the overuse of detention by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) in civil proceedings to determine the removability of individuals in the U.S. By stating and asking “it looks to me like there is an overuse of detention by this administration. If these people are not safety risks . . . why are we detaining them?,” you have joined the growing chorus of Americans who wonder why the government, during a time of fiscal crisis, spends so much money locking people up during immigration proceedings when they present no danger to society.
It took only three years longer than promised—and a leak that may or may not have been intentional—but the White House has finally produced a legislative proposal to fix the immigration system. Dubbed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2013, the bill would create a pathway to citizenship for most of the 11 million removable noncitizens in the country, mandate the eventual use of E-Verify for most employers, and dull many of the draconian provisions enacted in the 1996 immigration bill.
It has been a tough week for the ICE bureaucrats who have sought to undermine the political leadership of this country to pursue their own restrictivist and nativist agenda. Regular readers of this blog (my wife and my mother), will know that we have sought to document the efforts of bureaucrats within ICE to stymie intelligent immigration enforcement through insubordination, lawsuits, leaks, and more generic tactics like refusal to complete trainings and sick-outs.
What a week it has been. There has been more positive discussion of immigration reform in the last week than in the past decade and while none of it is perfect, it is a huge improvement over Mitt Romney endorsing self-deportation and SB 1070. Hard to believe that that was just six months ago. In the past week, there has been two major comprehensive overhaul plans, word of a third, and the introduction of independent bills that would make discrete but needed improvements to the system.
On the same day that the immigration world was abuzz with news that the President would unveil his immigration reform plan next week, the administration filed a brief to preserve the unnecessary family separation caused by its cramped understanding of the Child Status Protection Act reflected in the Board of Immigration Appeals decision in Matter of Wang. The juxtaposition of the prospect of common sense immigration reform with the wholly unnecessary appeal of the U.S.
The Obama administration has until tomorrow January 25, 2013 to file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to seek review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision in Cuellar de Osorio v. Mayorkas, which provided a humane and reasonable interpretation of the Child Status Protection Act. If the government does not seek review in the Supreme Court, the decision of the 9th Circuit becomes law nationwide and thousands of people will be eligible to apply for adjustment of status using their old priority dates.
The publication of the rule allowing for processing of provisional waivers for unlawful presence in the United States was another act of administrative rule-making that the President has undertaken to make the immigration laws more humane. Over the past year, the effort at prosecutorial discretion, the introduction of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the provisional waiver have created a much improved immigration system that attempts to solve real immigration problems for families.
As most of us in Washington returned to work on January 2, 2013, we noticed that many of our fellow Washingtonians were bleary-eyed and slow-moving. Unfortunately, their lethargy stemmed not from all night and day new year’s electro-funk raves, but from hours of C-SPAN, watching the country go over the fiscal cliff, then climb back up the cliff, and then just hang out somewhere in the middle.