Will Obama’s Immigration Executive Orders Delay Asylum Applications?

Many asylum applicants in the United States have expressed their concerns about whether President Obama’s immigration reform executive orders will somehow negatively affect the timeliness of their own applications.

However, it is somewhat unlikely that it will impact the speed at which other applications are filed at all.

First of all, the applications that the executive orders were supposed to create have not been made available yet as a Texas court filed an injunction against them. Until the federal government files a stay or the ruling is overturned, the applications will not be available.

Secondly, the original DACA program, which was released in 2012 did not significantly impact the processing times of other applications, so it can be reasonably expected that there won’t be any great delay this time either.

Further, the USCIS hired almost 200 more asylum officers in 2015, which should further speed up the processing times.

Really, it seems that asylum applicants can expect their applications to be processed faster this year!

The USCIS is a government agency that gets more than 99% of its funding from the fees paid by applicants for immigration benefits.

This business-like model makes it better prepared to handle the sort of challenges that increased applications may pose. It is a more agile and adaptable organization than many other agencies in the United States government.

Asylum applicants who are concerned with when their applications will be processed should be sure to file early, file correctly and to take advantage of the provisions made for people waiting for their applications to be processed. For example, many applicants may be eligible for work authorization while their applications are being processed.

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Is the Injunction Against Obama’s Immigration Executive Orders Fair?

An immediate reaction that many immigration advocates may have regarding Judge Hanen’s injunction against President Obama’s November immigration executive orders may be that it’s unfair and intentionally obstructive.

However, this is the government’s process. The United States government is based on a system of checks and balances where one branch cannot make decisions without some sort of review.

In this case, the executive branch, headed by President Obama, tried to make a policy in how immigration is handled in the United States and it was challenged by the courts (the judicial branch).

The complaints against the executive orders stated that the administration had overstepped what it was allowed to do, that it’s actions were the responsibility of Congress and that the administration should let Congress make such decisions.

This point will be argued in court very soon. Though many people, including President Obama, believe that there was no overreach at all, it still must be examined to maintain a truly democratic society.

The suit that claimed that the executive orders were too much came from a total of 26 states, which is a majority of states in the Union. Surely, if more than half of the country wants to consider the legitimacy of a policy change, it should be considered.

Another complaint filed against the executive orders was a concern that Texas would suffer undue pressure from the institution of the new policies. Texan driver’s licenses are processed at a loss, so the addition of a large number of new people needing driver’s licenses (specifically recipients of DACA and DAPA) would generate a serious deficit in that state’s budget.

None of these events or complaints spell out the end of the executive orders, but it should be reassuring that the government of the United States is working to ensure that democracy is preserved for all.

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Immigration Important to Technological Growth

Opponents of immigration often cite the need to preserve the United States economy by blocking incoming immigrants, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that immigrants are what drive the U.S. economy.

The expanded availability of knowledge throughout the world has led more entrepreneuring souls in less developed countries to put together seriously competitive ideas.

One such example is the creation of 3D Robotics, of which Jordi Munoz is the Chief Technology Officer. Jordi is a Mexican immigrant to the United States without a college education – which are often used as a prerequisite for technology jobs in the united states – who developed his own remote control aircraft, often called drones, while waiting for his Green Card to Arrive.

For those who say that immigration is not necessary for innovation in the United States, Jordi’s story, as it was reported on BBC News, shouldn’t have happened. If there’s no need for immigration then an enterprising American should have filled that necessary space in the American economy.

But, they didn’t, or, they didn’t fast enough. And in a globalized economy, speed is a premium quality.

It’s probably pretty accurate that many undocumented immigrants do take up many low-skill jobs in the United States, but those aren’t the jobs that boost the economy, they support it.

Proponents of extra strict immigration rules to prevent illegal immigration are cutting off their noses to spite their faces, or more simply damaging their own interests in the name of those interests.

In the past, periods of history that saw large amounts of immigration (illegal or legal, doesn’t matter) also saw huge increases in economic strength, advanced technological advancements and greater times of prosperity. Perhaps the first step to changing how people see immigration is to stop using the term ‘illegal’ to describe so much of it because in a global economy every person is a citizen.

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DACA and DAPA Delayed by Legal Loophole

The Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DACA and DAPA) have been postponed due to concerns by a Texas court that the federal government did not follow proper procedures for instituting the new executive actions.

The Brownsville federal district court, in a decision written by Judge Hanen, ruled that the executive orders issued by Barack Obama at the end of November 2014 did not leave sufficient time for public examination as well as a slew of other complaints.

Another primary complaint against the executive orders has to do specifically with the state of Texas.

If undocumented immigrants are allowed to get work authorization and deferred action through these programs, they would become eligible for driver’s licenses in the state of Texas. The problem with this is that driver’s licenses are issued at a loss in Texas and if a large population of people suddenly become eligible, the influx of applications may place an undue burden upon the state’s budget.

The Obama administration has said that they will file an appeal on the decision through the Justice Department, but that may take a long time to take effect. A more immediate solution may be for the Justice Department to file an emergency stay, which would allow people to apply for the program at least until the appeal is decided.

The Expanded Deferred Action program was supposed to start on February 18, 2015 and the DAPA program in May of 2015.

The decision made in Texas was part of a set of lawsuits filed by 26 states across the United States to examine the legality and propriety of Obama’s immigration executive orders.

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Solving Illegal Immigration

People often look at the concept of illegal immigration as something to be solved. It’s treated like a question that has a definitive answer or a complex formula that has an elegant solution somewhere just waiting to be uncovered.

This is a sort of fallacy that many humans fall into.

Really, there is no single thing that can be done to completely end illegal immigration and there is no set of actions that can be taken to solve the problem.

One might argue that the best way to solve the problem of illegal immigration is to change one’s perception of it.

Illegal immigration is a construct of the foreign relations of governments and therefore is a problem that societies create for themselves. If that is true, then by changing how one defines illegal immigration or by eradicating the concept altogether, it can be solved.

The problem with this simple solution is that there is a reasonable basis and need for the concept of illegal immigration. States need to regulate who can come into their countries and when for the safety of their peoples. So, with this in mind, there are two general schools of thought that address the solution of illegal immigration: Reform and enforcement.

While both can be logically considered reform, when people say “immigration reform” in the United States, they are probably talking about the more liberal side of the argument. Specifically, redesigning the immigration system to make it easier for foreign nationals to get legal status, thereby making it more unlikely for them to become illegal at any point of their stay in the U.S.

On the more conservative side of the spectrum is enforcement. This set of beliefs considers the current laws in the United States to be sufficient for solving immigration issues and the only reason why there is a problem is that there aren’t enough people in government working to enforce the current laws. Proponents of this school believe that greater numbers of border guards and deportation proceedings are necessary to solve the problem of illegal immigration.

Regardless of what school may be right or wrong, no real change can be affected until Congress makes a decision. Solving illegal immigration may be a long way off, but the U.S. is on the path before the fork.

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Anti Immigration Proposals

There are many Americans who believe that immigration is not a good thing for the United States. While this may be an unfortunate position (it can often fall into various traps of unnecessary isolationism, racism and historical misperception) it still exists.

People who believe that immigration is bad for the country cite many reasons. Many of those reasons are poorly supported.

Some claim that the economy will be poorly impacted by immigration, but in the past, periods of great immigration have caused enormous amounts of economic growth.

Others claim that illegal immigrants are by nature criminals (linking the term illegal immigrant to them), but the vast majority of undocumented immigrants in the United States are focused on family and interested in working only legitimate jobs.

Opponents of liberalizing the immigration system in the United States often come up with outlandish ways to reduce illegal immigration (which they view as a crime on the same scale as drug trafficking or theft, instead of an immigration status). Examples include:

  • The erection of a wall separating the United States from Mexico.
  • Increased personnel in investigative enforcement, customs and state prosecutions of illegal immigrants.
  • And hyperactive deportation proceedings assisted by the previous suggestion.

The problem with this is that it would not only be prohibitively expensive but it would also be an incredible burden on the federal government, which is solely responsible for the enforcement of immigration matters. Imagine, if you will, finding 11 million people in a country of nearly 400 million, arresting them all and sending them through the court system in the matter of a few years. That would be impossible.

Additionally, why would a country want to divert energies from prosecuting violent criminals to convicting people whose only crime is that their immigration paperwork is out of date or non existent?

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The 2015 Federal Budget and Immigration Reform

The federal budget of the United States is often used to achieve certain political goals of Senators and Congressmen and this year is no exception. However, one of the big items up for leverage this budget season is immigration reform.

Democrats are largely arguing to keep the issue of immigration reform out of the budget, specifically, they want to pass a budget that does not have any of the GOP’s ideas for immigration reform in it.

Republicans have mostly viewed President Obama’s recent immigration reform related executive actions as an attempt to rule by fiat, or to create laws where he has no business doing so.

Therefore, Republicans are threatening to withhold the passage of a budget as long as Democrats continue to pursue the new Deferred Action programs created by the president’s executive orders (DACA and DAPA).

A Texas Federal District Court Judge recently ruled for an injunction against the Federal government regarding DACA and DAPA and has effectively stopped those programs from moving forward, but Democrats are working on appealing that decision.

The problem with these political machinations is the potential blowback they may produce.

If the Republicans continue to stall the passage of a budget, the government (and in particular the Department of Homeland Security) may suffer from a shutdown.

The shutdown may further affect Republicans negatively as it may endanger regular American citizens and furthermore turn them against a government that would rather not work than solve an issue within itself.

Although the Expanded DACA program was to begin accepting applications on February 18, 2015, the program’s start will probably be delayed for a while. However, immigration advocacy groups have encouraged those who may be eligible for these benefits to be ready to apply when the programs do finally go into effect.

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