CRF Blog

The Debate Over Obama’s Actions on Immigration

by Bill Hayes

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, legal scholars Erwin Chemerinsky and Samuel Kleiner argue that On immigration policy, the law and facts are on Obama’s side.

The Supreme Court long has recognized that immigration and deportations are closely tied to foreign policy, which is uniquely in the domain of executive power and control. The executive discretion granted by the Constitution certainly includes deciding whether to bring deportation proceedings. Throughout history, the federal government has chosen — for humanitarian concerns or foreign policy reasons — to not try to deport some individuals or classes of individuals, even though they are not lawfully in the United States. [more]

Writing for Justia, Chapman University law professor disagrees in The President’s Power to Waive the Immigration Laws.

[T]he issue is not whether one agrees with the President’s goals. (I share them.) The issue is whether it is constitutional for the President, unilaterally, to rewrite our immigration laws and change the status of about 5 million people. If the President can waive any law (by claiming prosecutorial discretion), future Presidents will be able, for example, to rewrite other laws. For example, if the next President does not favor the Affordable Care Act, he or she can simply grant a waiver to all of that law, just as the present President has already granted a waiver to important parts of the Affordable Care Act. [more]