Since President Obama’s announcement about two new executive orders pertaining to immigration reform in late November, there has been a significant amount of speculation of whether or not what he did is legal.
The short answer to this question is that it is legal. The president’s power to modify how his administration enforces laws is well-established by the Constitution of the United States.
However, there have been a number of lawsuits filed against the president that say that his executive orders over reach those well-established constitutional powers.
A very popular sentiment in the United States is that these executive orders are somehow a form of amnesty. Amnesty is effectively granting a group of people formal immigration status in the United States, which these executive orders do not do.
Even though this is a case of mistaken meaning, it remains popular and fuels anti-immigration reform sentiments.
Really, the only way for the issue to be settled is in court and the President’s lawyers and the suing parties are preparing their arguments as this blog is published.
In the United States, anyone can sue anyone, but the real question is whether or not a person has any foundation to sue. It’s quite possible that a court looks at the arguments against Obama’s executive actions and declares that the lawsuit is unfounded.
The courts could also find that Obama’s executive actions are unconstitutional, which would nullify any benefits anyone gets out of them.
This makes it a very interesting time for immigration reform issues.
Hopefully, the U.S. Congress is able to create some sort of legislation. That is the only hope for lasting immigration reform.