President Obama’s immigration actions challenged

The President moved forward with executive action to push for immigration reform. These actions are being challenged both in funding and legality.

President Obama's executive actions on immigration are facing scrutiny. These actions are currently under fire in two different ways: funding and legal. Sen. Jeff Sessions (Republican - Alabama) is leading the push for Congress to deny funds to implement the president's actions. Without funding, he argues, the immigration actions will be blocked.

The actions are also being challenged in a federal court in Texas. A suit against the president was filed with a conservative judge by 24 states, including Georgia. The judge presiding over the case was appointed by President George W. Bush and has a history of critical views regarding Obama's immigration policies, according to MSNBC.

12 states issued a "friend of the court" brief on Monday, January 12, 2015. This brief by the attorneys general for Washington, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia, provides support for the president's actions. The brief also outlines the likelihood that allowing the 5 million undocumented immigrants that live within the United States to participate in society will have a positive impact on the economy.

More on the executive actions under scrutiny

A recent report by MSNBC notes that over 580,000 DREAMers have successfully applied for DACA. Although this is a notable figure, it pales in comparison to the estimated 5 million that could qualify.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) provides recipients with the ability to remain in the country without fear of deportation. These individuals can apply for work permits and open bank accounts. Recipients generally must meet the following criteria:

  • Age. Applicants must be under the age of 31 and entered the United States before turning 16.
  • Home. Applicants must have lived in the United States continuously for at least five years.
  • Education. Applicants must either be currently in school, graduated high school, earned a GED or served in the military.
  • Crime. Applicants must not have a conviction for a felony, "significant" misdemeanor or three other misdemeanors.

If the president's executive actions move forward, the DACA program will be expanded. The age will be raised and the program will also open to parents of U.S. born citizens.

Legal counsel can help

The legal battle outlined above will likely be a long and drawn out process. However, it does highlight the evolving nature of immigration law. As a result, those who are interested in citizenship are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced naturalization lawyer. This legal professional can review your situation and help determine the best path for you.

Keywords: immigration