It has now been nearly two months since the President announced his Executive Action on Immigration November 20, 2014. In preparation to implement the President’s announcement, USCIS has moved forward in preparing the necessary forms for expanded DACA this month and to implement Deferred Action for Parental Accountability in May. USCIS has had at least two public engagement conference calls in preparation to implement these programs and is expected to issue more detailed guidance for these two programs in the next several weeks. USCIS has also announced on its website that it will begin accepting applications under the expanded DACA guidelines February 18, 2015. (click here to read more from USCIS).
As expected, there has been push back from the Republicans on two different fronts. In Congress, the House leadership crafted and voted out of the House a DHS funding bill that contains language which, if it became law, would impede the Administration from implementing the President’s November 20, 2014 directives. As expected, however, this bill has stalled in the Senate where the Republicans lack the 60 votes necessary to end debate and call a vote on this bill. As a result, this effort to stall the President’s initiatives has failed to date and will continue to fail as long as the opponents of this effort continue to filibuster the bill and prevent a vote.
Unfortunately, because the Republican majority has insisted on holding DHS funding hostage in their effort to stop the President’s initiates, DHS now risks running out of operational funding later sometime in February 2015. We are now on the brink of a possible DHS shut down. This threatens our country’s national security at every level. The agencies that fall under the Department of Homeland Security which are now threatened with a possible loss of operational funding include:
- TSA agents providing security at our nation’s airports,
- The Secrete Service protecting our President and other elected leaders,
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency which provides local assistance in the event of tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding and other natural and man made disasters,
- The Transportation Safety Administration that keep our highways, trains and commercial flying safe,
- Even Customs and Boarder Protection that secures our boarders.
Without question, the Republican strategy of holding DHS funding hostage over their frustration with the President’s Executive Actions threatens to leave this nation more vulnerable to attack and will not succeed at stopping the President’s initiatives.
The President’s initiatives have also been challenged in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas. More than 20 Republican Governors have joined as Plaintiffs in this lawsuit claiming to be interested parties and claiming that their states have been “harmed” by the President’s actions. They have asked the Texas Federal District Judge to issue an Injunction to stop implementation of the President’s Executive Actions until their claims can be fully adjudicated.
Many different interested parties have weighed in on this lawsuit by filing Amicus Curiae (” Friend of the Court”) arguments on both sides. Supporting the President and his Executive Action include arguments submitted by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio with help from our own St. Louis City Mayor’s office.
At the end of the day, the Plaintiffs’ legal efforts to stop the President’s Executive Actions are most likely to fail on the issue of standing. Standing is the legal requirement that the Plaintiffs must show that in some way they are personally injured by the President’s actions. This will be very difficult for the Plaintiffs to show. Admittedly, the Federal District Judge hearing this case is very conservative and the Plaintiffs chose to file their suit in this court because of its conservative leaning. However, the law is not on the Plaintiffs’ side as explained in further detail by David Leopold, former National President and General Counsel of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
You can read David Leopold’s well written blog/analysis by clicking here: 2.4.2015 Leopold blog on Texas lawsuit.
We at US Legal Solutions expect that the President’s Executive Actions will go into effect and the Republican efforts to interfere with the President’s sensible prioritization of limited enforcement resources will fail. We fully expect that, if the President’s initiative is able to proceed, millions of immigrants in our communities will benefit and so will our Nation!