Obama Administration Undermines Rule of Law...Again

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20 November 2013
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National News
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In yet another move calculated to fulfill the President's backdoor amnesty agenda, the Obama Administration issued a new policy memorandum Friday, this time granting illegal aliens who are immediate relatives of active and veteran U.S. military members the ability to obtain a green card and eventual citizenship. (USA Today, Nov. 15, 2013)

President Obama is creating this path to citizenship by granting these illegal alien relatives "parole in place." However, rather than being based in statute, the concept of "parole in place" is a politically-motivated distortion of U.S. immigration law. There is no statutory or regulatory authority for parole in place; it predicated on yet another memorandum, this time by the former General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service under the Clinton Administration. (Read the 1998 memo here.)

While our immigration laws do provide the Executive branch with discretion to grant aliens what is commonly referred to as "humanitarian parole," this is only to allow aliens outside of the country into the U.S. on a temporary and case-by-case basis under certain circumstances. Specifically, the provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act governing parole provides:

The Attorney General may...in his discretion parole into the United States temporarily under such conditions as he may prescribe only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.... (Section 212(d)(5)(A))(emphasis added).

Accordingly, the plain language of the statute requires not only that the alien being paroled be outside of the U.S., but that such aliens be considered for such temporary relief on an individual basis. This is further borne out by the regulations issued to implement the statute on humanitarian parole, which reference only "arriving aliens." Nowhere do our laws grant the Executive Branch authority to grant parole for a broad class of illegal aliens already inside of the U.S. with the express intent of doing so just so they circumvent current law to obtain a green card. Nevertheless, the Department of Homeland Security is now directing its agencies to do exactly that.

Granting parole to an alien is significant, because it allows aliens to circumvent provisions in law that would normally bar their admission and puts them on a path to citizenship. In general, illegal aliens who cross the border unlawfully are inadmissible to the U.S. because they have not been lawfully admitted or paroled into the country. (See Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(a)(6)(A)) Thus, the Administration's latest memorandum offering blanket parole gets around this basis for inadmissibility. (See USCIS Memo, Nov. 15, 2013) Once the illegal alien relatives are approved for this "parole in place" status, they are considered admissible to the country and therefore eligible to obtain green cards and citizenship. (INA at § 245(a))

Justifying the Administration's latest backdoor amnesty, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Peter Boogaard said the change in law will "reduce the uncertainty our active duty and retired military personnel face because of the immigration status of their family members," Boogaard told reporters. (Fox News Latino¸ Nov. 16, 2013)

FAIR's president Dan Stein blasted the Administration for once again changing immigration law to achieve its agenda through executive fiat. "If the president wanted to exempt relatives of military personnel from deportation, he should have put a bill before Congress. Instead, he has once again chosen to bypass Congress and exercise broad powers not granted to him under the Constitution," said Stein. "The precedent the Obama Administration is setting is extraordinarily dangerous. If the President is allowed to violate the laws for one group of people, it will not take long before he starts expanding his powers to reach the entire illegal alien population." (See FAIR Press Release, Nov. 18, 2013)

Since taking office, the Obama Administration has eroded the enforcement of U.S. immigration law through a series of prosecutorial discretion and backdoor amnesties. For more information, read FAIR's timeline of President Obama's Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement.