Could have Obama expanded deferred action to parents of Dreamers?

Legal experts agreed on Monday that President Barack Obama had the authority to take executive action on immigration, but they differed on whether the president could’ve expanded deferred action to parents of Dreamers. Obama announced earlier this month a series of executive actions related to immigration. The actions included creating a new deferred action program to shield millions of parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents from deportation. However, a similar program was not created for the parents of Dreamers who were granted temporary reprieve from deportation under the president’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. SEE ALSO: Executive Order makes immigrants eligible for Medicare, Social Security A 33-page opinion issued Nov. 19 by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel provides two primary reasons for why a deferred action program for parents of DACA recipients “would not be permissible.” First, the OLC opinion states there’s a general concern in Congress and immigration law not to separate individuals who are legally entitled to live in the United States from their immediate family members. The opinion indicates that because DACA recipients “unquestionably” lack lawful status, it’s difficult to make the argument for why their parents should qualify for deferred action. Second, the OLC opinion says that extending deferred action to parents of DACA recipients “would represent a significant departure from deferred action programs that Congress has implicitly approved in the past.” The opinion also argues it could open the door to expanding deferred action not only to parents of DACA recipients, but also to close relatives of immigrants granted deferred action through other programs. Stephen Legomsky, a professor at Washington University School of Law and former general counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, doesn’t agree with the OLC’s reasoning for excluding parents of DACA recipients from qualifying for deferred action. He believes Obama did have the legal authority to expand deferred action to parents of DACA recipients. “I understand where the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is coming from, but I would respectfully disagree with that interpretation,” Legomsky said Monday in a conference call with reporters. “Their conclusion rests on a legal premise that I don’t think they’ve adequately supported.” He noted the OLC’s conclusion rests on the premise that deferred action should only be granted to individuals who have family ties to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. He said if that premise were true, then it would be “hard to explain” why the Obama administration decided to implement the DACA program for undocumented youth, who weren’t required to show family ties to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. SEE ALSO: 5 things to know about Obama’s immigration executive actions Walter Dellinger, an attorney who served as U.S. solicitor general in the Clinton administration, had a different opinion. Dellinger told reporters he agreed with the OCL opinion that extending deferred action to the parents of DACA recipients would “expand family-based immigration relief in a manner that deviates in important respects from the immigration system Congress has enacted and the policies that system embodies.” “I think that is a reasonable and a plausible conclusion,” said Dellinger, who added that he thought the OLC opinion was “overall just outstanding.’’ In terms of the DACA program, Dellinger said the legal argument in support of the DACA program was based more on “humanitarian concerns” rather than on family unity. A senior administration official said in an interview with The Washington Post last week that the Obama administration wanted to extend deferred action to parents of DACA recipients. But the official said attorneys advised against it, saying it would be difficult to make a legal argument to defend that decision. “We looked at this pretty hard,” a senior administration official told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We hoped to come up with a rationale that would work but concluded that we couldn’t.” SEE ALSO: Immigrants in Western states benefit from Obama’s executive actionThe post Could have Obama expanded deferred action to parents of Dreamers? appeared first on Voxxi.

Immigration activists, many of them mothers of Dreamers, called on Obama to take executive action on immigration at Lafayette Square on November 3, 2014, in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Legal experts agreed on Monday that President Barack Obama had the authority to take executive action on immigration, but they differed on whether the president could’ve expanded deferred action to parents of Dreamers.

Obama announced earlier this month a series of executive actions related to immigration. The actions included creating a new deferred action program to shield millions of parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents from deportation. However, a similar program was not created for the parents of Dreamers who were granted temporary reprieve from deportation under the president’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

SEE ALSO: Executive Order makes immigrants eligible for Medicare, Social Security

A 33-page opinion issued Nov. 19 by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel provides two primary reasons for why a deferred action program for parents of DACA recipients “would not be permissible.”

First, the OLC opinion states there’s a general concern in Congress and immigration law not to separate individuals who are legally entitled to live in the United States from their immediate family members. The opinion indicates that because DACA recipients “unquestionably” lack lawful status, it’s difficult to make the argument for why their parents should qualify for deferred action.

Second, the OLC opinion says that extending deferred action to parents of DACA recipients “would represent a significant departure from deferred action programs that Congress has implicitly approved in the past.” The opinion also argues it could open the door to expanding deferred action not only to parents of DACA recipients, but also to close relatives of immigrants granted deferred action through other programs.

Stephen Legomsky, a professor at Washington University School of Law and former general counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, doesn’t agree with the OLC’s reasoning for excluding parents of DACA recipients from qualifying for deferred action. He believes Obama did have the legal authority to expand deferred action to parents of DACA recipients.

“I understand where the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is coming from, but I would respectfully disagree with that interpretation,” Legomsky said Monday in a conference call with reporters. “Their conclusion rests on a legal premise that I don’t think they’ve adequately supported.”

He noted the OLC’s conclusion rests on the premise that deferred action should only be granted to individuals who have family ties to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. He said if that premise were true, then it would be “hard to explain” why the Obama administration decided to implement the DACA program for undocumented youth, who weren’t required to show family ties to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

SEE ALSO: 5 things to know about Obama’s immigration executive actions

Walter Dellinger, an attorney who served as U.S. solicitor general in the Clinton administration, had a different opinion.

Dellinger told reporters he agreed with the OCL opinion that extending deferred action to the parents of DACA recipients would “expand family-based immigration relief in a manner that deviates in important respects from the immigration system Congress has enacted and the policies that system embodies.”

“I think that is a reasonable and a plausible conclusion,” said Dellinger, who added that he thought the OLC opinion was “overall just outstanding.’’ In terms of the DACA program, Dellinger said the legal argument in support of the DACA program was based more on “humanitarian concerns” rather than on family unity.

A senior administration official said in an interview with The Washington Post last week that the Obama administration wanted to extend deferred action to parents of DACA recipients. But the official said attorneys advised against it, saying it would be difficult to make a legal argument to defend that decision.

“We looked at this pretty hard,” a senior administration official told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We hoped to come up with a rationale that would work but concluded that we couldn’t.”

SEE ALSO: Immigrants in Western states benefit from Obama’s executive action

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The post Could have Obama expanded deferred action to parents of Dreamers? appeared first on Voxxi.