Does Immigration Reform Still Have a Chance in 2014?

Posted by Matthew Green | May 09, 2014 | 0 Comments

As each month passes in 2014, it seems less and less likely that immigration reform will not be successful this year. Right? Well, maybe not. Of course, the majority would most likely say that at this point, there will likely be no change in immigration, come this July.

However, it's possible that President Obama could utilize his executive power and bypass “congressional gridlock and act on immigration reform.” One new change could involve putting noncriminals and minor offenders at the bottom of the deportation priority list. This update was recommended by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a April 2014 meeting with Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security Secretary.

Those who are concerned about the president using his executive power are typically Republicans and, according to Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor at Cornell University Law School, the GOP has good reason to worry. "If I had to predict, I think the president will make some administrative fine tuning of his immigration policies in the hopes of pacifying the immigration activists," said Yale-Loehr.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida), thinks that changes will be made after lawmakers have headed back to their home states to campaign in August. However, Diaz-Balart and his staff are already quickening the pace on putting together a measure that would help certain undocumented immigrants achieve citizenship through current immigration laws and policies. Diaz-Balart's office also stated that the legislation they are working on would increase effectiveness of border security and work to reducing the number of green card applications currently pending.

Although President Obama has come under fire over the last couple of months regarding the high number of deportations that have occurred during his administration, he continues to say that he cannot give a specific timeline as to when immigration reform will take place.

When there is so much back-and-forth between the two parties, it may lead to the president getting tired of “congressional inaction and use executive action.” This is a quote from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who is a potential 2016 presidential candidate and helped pass an immigration reform bill last summer in the Senate.

While some Republicans are putting together their own pieces of legislation, others are wary about offering this type of bill. Political experts agree that “[t]here's a general wariness in the Republican caucus to take up immigration reform -- even incrementally,” said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of the Rothenberg Political Report. An issue such as immigration reform could potentially divide the caucus. This could lead to some major shake-ups.

In addition, the idea that President Obama may use his executive privilege in the coming months does little to relieve any tension between the president and the Republican Party. House Speaker John Boehner warned that if the president were to utilize executive power, he would “spoil the well to the point where no one will trust him by giving him a new law that he will implement the way the Congress intended.”

Do you have thoughts on these new developments? Is this anything new, or just business as usual?

About the Author

Matthew Green

Managing Attorney. The Law Offices of Matthew H. Green focuses on the aggressive defense of immigrants. A native of Arizona, Mr. Green understands the difficulties that immigrants and families of immigrants face when a loved one is charged with a crime. He knows how frightening it can be for some...

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