5 things Obama can and can’t do on immigration

By Halimah Abdullah, CNN

July 2, 2014

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama is vowing to act on his own due to House inaction on immigration reform that proponents say could help address a wave of undocumented kids crossing the border from Mexico. But there are limits to the power of his pen.

Yes, the President can send National Guard troops to the border as some House Republicans insisted at recent congressional hearing on immigration.

No, the administration can’t put immigrant kids “on a bus like we normally do and send them back down to Guatemala,” as Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers suggested.

The children have arrived in droves after fleeing violence and poverty in Central America and are seeking “permisos” or a pass to stay in America.

Thousands are being held in detention facilities as the Obama administration tries to figure out what to do.

And while Obama promises “a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” Speaker John Boehner and other House Republicans criticize him for being “intent on going it alone with executive orders that can’t and won’t fix these problems.”

Boehner has said he intends to sue Obama over how he’s used his executive authority to bypass Congress.

Beyond the political back-and-forth, there are some things Obama can and cannot do by way of executive action on immigration.

What he can do

1. He can tweak and fine tune existing guidelines on who to prioritize and prosecute in deportation hearings.

2. Obama can dispatch more border patrol agents as well as members of the National Guard.

3. And Obama could opt to continue a program for some who were brought to the United States as kids. It is important to note that this program allows them to
temporarily stay in the country and work or attend school. It is not a path to legalization.

4. The President could also continue a practice in some states of using ankle bracelets or weekly mandatory check-ins with immigration officials as an alternative to detention.

5. And he could move to increase the amount of free legal assistance to immigrants in deportation hearings.
“If the transfer of resources involves moving judges down to that area so they can process the caseload and more asylum officers to conduct interviews with these children then we’re in a zero-sum game,” said Kamal Essaheb, a policy attorney National Immigration Law Center. “Those resources are being taken away from other areas. We would welcome Congress appropriating more money so everyone can get their day in court and a quick day in court.”

What he can’t do

1. The president can’t bar people from applying for political asylum. Those guidelines are set by the United Nations Refugee Convention, which the United States has signed, said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration attorney and professor at Cornell University Law School.

2. And no, the President can’t increase the number eligible for green cards because their spouses or parents are U.S. citizens. Such matters are set by law. Though some immigration advocates have argued spouses and children shouldn’t count toward 140,000 limit on employment-based green cards, whether the President can make that kind of change unilaterally is murky territory.

3. Obama also can’t just eliminate judicial review for people ordered deported — such a move would violate the Constitution.

4. Nor can he just load up all undocumented immigrants on a bus and deport them without some sort of legal hearing. That type of action also would violate the law.
“The Constitution says that all persons have due process rights in the U.S. whether they are from another country or the U.S.,” Yale-Loehr said.

5. And, for those hoping for (or fearing) a blanket executive action legalizing all undocumented immigrants, no the President can’t do that either. There’s a law for that.

“There are constitutional limits on what the president can do. We have a tripartite government system. The Congress enacts the laws; the President implements the laws,” Yale-Loehr said. “The President cannot create an immigration policy willy-nilly, whole cloth. He cannot create an immigration law. He has to get Congress’ approval to change an immigration law. ”

15 Comments on this post.

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  • noz
    2 July 2014 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    these illegal aliens claiming fear of violence in their respective countries, simply are not true. they have illegally entered the USA with false agenda. their misleading deeds must be placed with them alone, and the leaders of the countries where they all came from, not the resources of the over burden, hardworking taxpayers. congress must think this is a ploy not worthy of getting their cases be dragged with the current existing laws, instead the laws must be amended to swiftly deport these illegal aliens. the nations they all originated from, the visa issuance must be suspended or revoked if these corrupted nations cannot control their own people illegally crossing the USA. obummer asking congress for billions without regard the USA is BROKE/BANKRUPT running the debt to 20 trillion by 2016, should qualify obummer to go to prison for misappropriations of tax money. the billions to take care of these illegal aliens and their nations are not only insane, but suicidal, inviting more illegal aliens. obummer’s dream is unstoppable to make america, the dumping ground for illegal aliens.

    • leyteboy
      3 July 2014 at 11:58 pm - Reply

      No president been so serious about sealing the borders bec it should not! This is a nation built by immigrants and will always be.

      • noz
        4 July 2014 at 7:59 am - Reply

        the illegal aliens are what we all are talking about here, don’t you get it?. applicants applying legally for green cards are all welcome to the USA. your “This is a nation built by immigrants and will always be.” are all BULLCRAP, you were fooled to falsely believe, indoctrinated by your totem obummer. america have not closed the doors for legal migrations. sealing the borders will partially deter the border crossers on foot, currently have exceeded the estimated 60% with the flooding of these minor illegal alien border crossers. the 40% illegal aliens were given non-immigrant visas, have breached their non-immigrant visas, overstaying with expired visa, freely doing illegal stuffs without being apprehended/deported. these are the relatives of DACA recipients from countries entering the USA, NOT through the borders on foot. your idol obummer have not addressed these huge numbers of documented with expired visas illegal aliens, instead rewarded them of commending their minors they brought with them illegally of his unlawful, demonic DACA, to get reelected. now, these documented with expired visas illegal aliens are crying bloody for obummer to proceed with his amnesty ASAP?. you all need to be apprehended/deported are the right thing to do for america’s survival, and make room for legal liens with self-restraints. to use the idea, the illegal aliens successfully hiding for decades, with all the unlawful activities under their belts are qualifiers is nothing, but destructive. rewriting aka reform the existing immigration laws, simply is legalizing all illegalities period. your demolition idols, full of craft/hot air obstructionist obummer, ruse reid, poisonous pelosi, bad biden are drooling, praising these minor illegal alien border crossers, making americans angry, sick to their stomach, ready to spit their vomitus to these a..holes running this nation to hell. americans have come to realizations these unlawful, commies in DC are the baddest. how much more ruin these vindictive democRATS will inflict to america remain to be seen. you all need to brace, if you all can for the man-made STORMS these conscienceless obummer, reid, pelosi, biden, et al are building right in your face.

  • JRB
    2 July 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    To all advocates read the above very good? Because when you all open your big mouth you understand what Obama can do and what he can’t? I don’t care what all advocates say out of they big mouth, It’s shame when advocates say something and they don’t understand what they are saying.

  • Filam
    3 July 2014 at 1:23 am - Reply

    A wrong sense of Entitlement

    First they beg, now they demand, they want to be the “Dreamers” they are not employable, no education and no language skills. Their dream is to enjoy the benefits of this country because they are “language disabled” The USA boat has already sunk and we only have rafts left, we can not rescue those who are in the water or else when we add more people to our raft, we will all sink.

  • Mar
    3 July 2014 at 3:52 am - Reply

    Wave of illegal alien kids coming with diseases. Health workers said it is lice,scabies, issues,you can see the fleas crawling in their hair, the sink turn black,full of bugs after rinsing their hair. Medical workers were warned and threatened on their job if they divulges any info on contagious diseases of the illegal kids at San Antonio Texas.Nurses were alarmed because the kids were transported by buses and airplane.”July 4 is coming and travelers will be flying all over”, said the medical worker.CDC alerted Doctors in the Southern border to handle sudden increase on TB,chicken pox, measle,H1N1 flu,denge and new lethal diseases.Don’t get shock if your child in school is infected with TB or any of the 3rd world countries diseases.Democrat Party will pay come next election, for allowing the illegal allien into this country, as Nancy Peloci called them “the divine children”. Obamacare & VA death panel has already found a future replacement and time to pull the plug on the old retirees, veteran,and pensionaires.Good job Democrat for passing Obamacare.

  • Delia
    3 July 2014 at 11:51 am - Reply

    This is proof positive that Obama reached his level of incompetence at the community organizer level. He is doing his level best to destroy in 8 years what it took the people of this country 225 years to build.

    • wil
      3 July 2014 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      Yepper 225 yrs to build. Let’s see 100+ years of slavery, annihilation of several Native American tribes, the rest of which were placed on reservations. The Chinese exclusion laws. Not living up to their promises made to the Filipinos who fought and died for the United States. Jim Crow laws of the South. Yes , I can see why you blame President Obama.

      • Delia
        3 July 2014 at 6:18 pm - Reply

        @Will , your OBAMA,S butt hole lickers . How much does Obama pays you to lick his A$$. You and Obama are Sociopath traits which i will discribe here if you can comprehend anything.

        1. OBAMA SUPERFICIAL — the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, and slick. Not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. He never gets tongue-tied and has freed himself from the social conventions about taking turns in talking.

        2. OBAMA — a grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. An arrogant guy who believes he is a superior human being.

        3. OBAMA NEED FOR STIMULATION (PRONENESS TO BOREDOM) — an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation, taking chances and doing things that are risky. Often has low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because he gets bored easily.

        4. OBAMA PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high, in moderate form, and will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever (in extreme form, he will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest).

        5. OBAMA CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS — the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain, distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

        6. OBAMA LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT — a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims, a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unemphatic.

        7. OBAMA’S SHALLOW AFFECT — emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings, interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

        8. OBAMA’S CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY — a lack of feelings toward people in general, cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

        9. OBAMA’S POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper, acting hastily.

        Your Attitude has similarity . You been stalking me since you came posting at BA . You do have a problem Will , your also so defiant person . You think your a smart, but your nothing more than an smart A$$ hole.

        • wil
          5 July 2014 at 4:43 am - Reply

          Hey Delia get a life. You know nothing of US history. Everything I quote was true. Not to mention The Civil Rights Act of 64 and Voting Rights ACT of 65. How much is the Klu Klux Klan paying you to spew hated. What war has our current President gotten the United States in? Unemployment is way down, the economy is on the rise, not fast but we’re getting there. Illegal immigration is bad and needs to be dealt with; but it isn’t all his fault. No President in the past or in the future is going to deal with it, Why? Because they are afraid of what the rest of world may think. Not to mention what the Hispanic population would say. So pull your head out you A$$ and get a grip. Our current President has done some things wrong and some things right. Unless you’re one of those war mongers who think we should be fighting everyone.

          • Delia
            6 July 2014 at 6:00 am -

            Yeah! yeah, sure . You really are historian nuts but can’t remember what went on for the last six years. For the record heres a reminder for you he promises and came with empty hands.

            1 Cut the deficit by half. As we speak, it is MORE than double ( Almost at the tip of 18 trillion dollars)
            2 He promised to bring Americans together. As we speak Americans have NEVER been as divided as they are today Politically Ethnically Economically Religiously Racially & Educationally
            3 He promised MORE Jobs. After SIX years LESS jobs . (Obama keep impleting numbers) lies more lies.
            4 He promised BETTER relations with Allies & Foes. NEVER has America been so hated, despised and found wanting geo politically
            5 Obama is an Anti American because of his upbringing.
            6 Obama has confused being militarily powerful as a DETERRENT with being Aggressive
            7 No leader in the world today TRUSTS or Respects Obama. He has ALIENATED America’s friends and ENCOURAGED her Enemies.

            So Will you seem so hopeless and has nothing to offer in this world , your like Obama as i stated . I got a life, why dont you mend your mental disability ,or disappear from the face of the earth .

  • wil
    6 July 2014 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Delia … did you use the bathroom this morning? I can’t believe all that crap you’ve been spewing. The facts you listed is a bunch of bull.

    1. Unemployment is down.
    2. Stock market is in recorded territory.
    3. It isn’t the United States job to protect the whole world.
    4. Not all but many of our allies are glad we’re not flexing our muscles.
    5. You’ve yet to dispute what I have said. You no nothing of his upbringing.
    6. There has been only 1 president who granted amnesty.

    Like I said before take your single celled brain, read a book and get some knowledge.and yes, get a life.

    • Delia
      6 July 2014 at 11:33 am - Reply

      My own belief is that the massive amount of stupid conspiracy theories you believe in some way has infected your neurosystem and made you more blunt and dull. Go back in your basement if you have one.

      • wil
        6 July 2014 at 12:13 pm - Reply

        ha ha you funny

  • JRB
    6 July 2014 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    I know something Obama can do is you better stop the people from coming to America that don’t belong here? Look at the American web site Yahoo.Com news and the real Americans that is born here in America. They don’t like people from other country that don’t belong here in America? They saying why can’t we shoot them to stop them from coming to America the wrong way. Hey Jose vargas you better get you A$$ out of America a lot of Americans don’t like you.