Congressman to sue Obama over new immigration policy

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) said June 15 that President Barack Obama's plan to issue an executive order implementing (some) policies of the DREAM Act is unconstitutional and announced that he plans to sue the administration to delay implementation. King claims that this executive order would effectively implement a law that was rejected by Congress and, therefore, Obama does not have the power to issue it.

Obama spoke that day following an announcement by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the department would be exercising "prosecutorial discretion" by not deporting anyone under the age of 30 who was brought here as a child. Obama defended the executive branch's actions, saying that this is not amnesty, immunity, a path to citizenship or a permanent fix, but a "temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people."

Immigration has been a hot button issue in the US lately, especially with a presidential election coming up in November. Earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for the release of undocumented immigrants being held in an Arizona prison, alleging that the conditions in the prison are unsanitary and in violation of the US Constitution. Earlier this month, a federal judge heard arguments on whether Arizona citizens can join a class action lawsuit challenging Arizona's controversial immigration law. That law is also currently being challenged in the US Supreme Court, where oral arguments were heard in April.

From Jurist, June 16. Used with permission.

See our last post on the politics of immigration.

Not the DREAM Act

We'll let the courts decide whether Obama is overstepping his authority with this policey, but what he is doing stops far short of the DREAM Act. Obama's new policy includes no path to citizenship, or even to permanent residency—only to temporary work permits. As The Venture notes, immigrants' rights advocates are supporting the new policy, but calling it "DREAM Act Lite."

Not an executive order?

A critical look at Obama's new immigration policy on Black Agenda Report ("Obama Memo Deferring Some Deportations Not a Victory For Latinos, Immigrants or Human Rights") states:

First of all, it was not an executive order, a thing that federal agencies are bound by law to carry out. It was a presidential announcement accompanied by a low-level memo. Two similar memos have been issued by this administration before, with similar hype from the White House and identical celebrations by immigrant rights activists. Both were disregarded by ICE, the Bureau of Immigration, Customs and Enforcement, which just kept on deporting everyone it could lay hands on.

Oh? Everything we've read indicates it is an executive order. Does BAR editor Bruce A. Dixon care to explain or provide his source for this claim?<