DHS can­cels Obama amnesty that courts blocked

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John F. Kelly of­fi­cially re­voked Pres­i­dent Obama’s 2014 at­tempt to broaden his pre­vi­ous de­por­ta­tion amnesty for Dream­ers, which had been held up by fed­eral courts for more than two years.

The de­ci­sion leaves in place the 2012 tem­po­rary amnesty for more than 780,000 Dream­ers but of­fi­cially ends im­mi­grant rights groups’ hopes of ex­pand­ing that pol­icy to as many as 4 mil­lion more il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

“There is no cred­i­ble path for­ward to lit­i­gate the cur­rently en­joined pol­icy,” the de­part­ment said in a memo ex­plain­ing the de­ci­sion.

Mr. Obama’s move in 2014 was among the most controversial of his eight-year ten­ure.

After years of say­ing he didn’t have the power to uni­lat­er­ally grant such a broad amnesty, and after watch­ing his party get clob­bered in the 2014 con­gres­sional elec­tions, he re­versed him­self and de­cided he did have the power.

He said par­ents of U.S. cit­i­zens or le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dents who had been in the coun­try since 2010 and who had kept rel­a­tively clean crim­i­nal records could ap­ply for the amnesty, which granted a two-year stay of de­por­ta­tion and a work per­mit, en­ti­tling them to driver’s li­censes and other tax­payer ben­e­fits such as tax cred­its from the IRS. The pol­icy also ex­panded the 2012 amnesty by lift­ing the age cap on Dream­ers.

Texas led 25 other states in su­ing, ar­gu­ing that Mr. Obama had over­stepped his pow­ers.

First a fed­eral dis­trict judge in Texas ruled in fa­vor of the states, is­su­ing an in­junc­tion and ar­gu­ing that the pres­i­dent had bro­ken pro­ce­dural laws by mak­ing such a big change with­out fol­low­ing the nor­mal rule-mak­ing process.

Then a fed­eral ap­peals court up­held the in­junc­tion, say­ing the pres­i­dent broke pro­ce­dural rules as well as the Im­mi­gra­tion and Na­tion­al­ity Act. The judges said they didn’t even have to de­cide on big con­sti­tu­tional ques­tions about pres­i­den­tial pow­ers.

The Supreme Court last year dead­locked in a 4-4 tie, leav­ing the ap­peals court rul­ing in place.

With im­mi­grant rights groups cheer­ing him on, Mr. Obama had pre­pared to bat­tle the le­gal case back in the lower courts. But with the change in ad­min­is­tra­tions, the de­ci­sion fell to Pres­i­dent Trump and his aides.

Though Mr. Obama cited the same pow­ers in the ex­pand­ing 2014 amnesty as he did in his orig­i­nal 2012 amnesty for Dream­ers, no court chal­lenge has been suc­cess­ful against that orig­i­nal pol­icy, and Mr. Kelly last week said he would leave it in place.

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