In a recent speech to the nation President Barack Obama indicated that he is tired of waiting for Congress to pass a bill on immigration reform. He indicated that Republicans used the logic, because it is broken, we won’t fix it. Therefore, the President stated he will do whatever he can through Executive action to implement reforms to our immigration system.
As of now it is unclear what reforms he will implement, but we will keep a close eye on it. This seems like a positive step.
The constitution grants “executive power” in Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, and furthered by the statement to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” in Article II, Section 3, Clause 4 that has been construed to justify an Executive Order’s legal weight. Presidents have used this Constitutional reasoning as a basis for power to issue Executive orders to carry out the President’s duties.
For example, through an Executive order the President could command the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to:
1. Establish a system of registration for foreign nationals that are not lawfully present in the U.S. They could pay a fine and a fee to cover the cost of the registration system, and would then receive lawful status and employment authorization. Many already did receive employment authorization under DACA, but there are many other foreign nationals that were ineligible for this program.
2. Allow everyone that has a priority date based on an approved labor certification to adjust status to that of a permanent resident under Section 245. This would effectively eliminate the long backlogs for the employment based immigration categories (especially for India and China).