The document below was filed with the Department of Homeland Security on February 4th, formally requesting an expansion of the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program to the fullest extent possible and a suspension of deportations.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON EXECUTIVE ACTION TO STOP DEPORTATIONS
“Executive action” is action the President and other executive branch officials can take on their own, without Congress doing anything.
The executive branch is one of the three branches of our government. The other two are the legislative branch (Congress), and the judicial branch (the courts). The executive branch is made up of the President, his Cabinet members (like the Secretary of Homeland Security), executive departments led by Cabinet members (like the Department of Homeland Security) and administrative agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency.
The President can:
The best way to encourage immigration reform legislation is to advance principled immigration policies to the maximum extent permitted by law. Executive action would create real leverage with Congress, and it would jump start inevitable negotiations with House Republicans from a position of strength. It would also allow undocumented immigrants to participate actively in the immigration debate without fear of deportation.
For the past five years, President Obama has been involved in a failed effort to use administrative policy to advance legislative reform. By ramping up enforcement to unprecedented levels while providing lip service for legalization proposals, the Obama Administration has set up a “win-win” political dynamic, where it boasts of enforcement credentials when speaking to nativists while castigating Republicans when speaking to immigrant supporters. This strategy has been (1) inhumane and (2) an abject failure.
The success of the DACA policy is proof positive that temporary relief can simultaneously alleviate suffering, enliven engagement by those most affected, and positively advance the debate (despite claims of anti-immigrant republicans to the contrary).
Anything done through executive action can be undone through subsequent executive action. As a legal matter, changes could be undone at any time by President Obama himself or any future president. But as a practical and political matter, once action has been taken, it’s hard to roll it back.
Presidents both recently and throughout history have used executive action to provide relief from deportation. For example:
Yes. Both President Obama and previous presidents have used their discretion to suspend or de-prioritize enforcement of certain laws in many different areas.
Any changes could be made effective upon announcement or as soon thereafter as practically feasible. For example, DACA was announced on June 15, 2012. ICE immediately began granting deferred action to eligible individuals in removal proceedings. Within 60 days, USCIS established a process for people to apply for DACA.
Under the Administrative Procedure Act, any “interested person” has the right to ask an agency to issue a rule. 5 U.S.C. 553(e). The request is known as a petition. Rules include formal regulations as well as less formal policy memos. Any person or organization who would be affected by the proposed rule qualifies as an “interested person.” Agencies are legally required to give a reasoned response to the petition “within a reasonable time.” Families for Freedom v. Napolitano, 628 F. Supp. 2d 535, 540 (S.D.N.Y. 2009); 5 U.S.C. § 555(b).
To add yourself or your organization to the rulemaking petition, fill out the form on this page with your contact information and your specific statement of interest of how you would be affected by a suspension of deportations. It asks you to describe how you/your organization would be affected by a suspension of deportations.
By filling out the form, you are giving NDLON permission to
list you publicly as a signer on the petition.
NotOneMoreDeportation.com is a project of NDLON meant to foster collaboration between individuals, organizations, artists, and allies to expose, confront, and overcome unjust immigration laws.
As the immigration debate continues, #Not1More enters the discussion from the place that touches people in concrete ways and can offer tangible relief. By collectively challenging unfair deportations and inequality through organizing, art, legislation, and action, we aim to reverse criminalization, build migrant power, and create immigration policies based on principles of inclusion.
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