As most people know at this point, immigration reform has hit the U.S. through an executive order by President Obama and not through Congress. Brian Lerner explains that there is a hefty debate going on with this issue as to whether the immigration reform was constitutional or not.
The Republicans are angry and state that Congress should be making laws regarding immigration reform. However, the U.S. Senate prepared a complete bill for immigration reform. It included an overhaul of both enforcement and affirmative immigration. However, explains Brian D. Lerner, when the Bill was sent to the U.S. House of Representatives, it sat there and sat there and sat there. The Speaker of the House would not even bring it for an up or down vote. Thus, while the Republicans are now furious that President Obama took the immigration reform in his own hands, the statements that Congress should do something is a bit disingenuous. They may have disagreed with the Senate version of the Bill, but why not put it up for debate? Why not allow it to go for a vote? Rather, they did nothing. Thus, explains Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Attorney, it is not as though President Obama came rushing through the doors to do immigration reform. Rather, he waited 1 ½ years after the Senate passed a bill. Clearly the immigration system is broken and immigration reform is needed.
Thus, the question: Is executive action by the President of the United States on Immigration Reform constitutional? In actuality, all the way back to the first President of the United States, George Washington, there have been executive orders. In this case, only when Congress has failed to act, did President Obama take action. In actuality, President Obama has not issued a lot of executive orders in his tenor as President of the United States. Now, for what seems like the first time, the House is stating they should debate and talk about the issue on immigration reform. That is great! If the President giving an executive order is what is necessary to get the House to do something for the people of the United States on immigration reform, then President Obama’s executive action is working.
The President has the constitutional power to carry out his Presidency. He has actually not made any new laws, but has instituted an executive order in which to implement his policies. This is his prerogative. The issue with the constitutionality of this executive order is further shown to be legal based upon the past. DACA or DREAMERS or Deferred action has been around for a couple of years. This was also made via an executive order by President Obama. Why did the Republicans not question this executive order? Why did they not bring a lawsuit or try to get some order that DACA itself was not constitutional? Here, explains Brian D. Lerner with the current executive order, DACA has been expanded. However, the expansion of DACA goes to basically taking away the upper age limit and making it so instead of being here in the U.S. since 2007, it would be 2010. Granted, the immigration reform and constitutionality of that reform is questioning the other provisions as well. However, it seems, according to Brian Lerner, that it is the content of the immigration reform and perhaps the expansion is what has many Republicans trying to fight it. However, according to Brian D. Lerner, the immigration reform has taken effect and there are a great many organizations and Law Professors all across the U.S. which have expressed their support for the immigration reform and its constitutionality. Of course there are about 17 Repblican Governors that have filed suit against the unconstitutionality of the immigration reform. It is the opinion of Brian D. Lerner, that this suit is more of a political statement as it is unlikely to be ruled that it is not constitutional.
There are certainly a lot of arguments on both sides. However, immigration reform is needed (whether you are for immigration reform or against immigration reform) and one way or another it must be done. Thus, if President Obama’s executive action has started the wheels of Congress debating and moving forward, then hopefully the momentum will continue and Congress will ultimately pass a much needed immigration reform package.