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Obama’s Immigration Moves Lawful, Experts Say
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President Obama's recent action regarding illegal immigrants has been declared lawful.

Summary: Over a hundred legal experts analyzed President Obama’s actions regarding immigration measures and concluded that they are both constitutional and within President Obama’s power.

According to U-T San Diego, over one hundred immigration professors and scholars stated on Tuesday that President Obama’s recent decision to spare several million illegal immigrants from deportation is both constitutional and within his administrative powers.


A total of 135 legal scholars examined the decision. Two significant provisions of the executive actions, one which would protect parents of citizens or permanent residents from deportation and allow them to apply for work permits, and another which would expand a program that protected immigrants that had entered the country illegally as children, were studied. The two programs have the potential to affect up to 4.4 million people in the United States.

President Obama pledged $9 million for legal services for the children of illegal immigrants.

According to the experts, President Obama’s move is a proper use of prosecutorial discretion. However, expectedly, Republicans were livid after the decision was announced. They called the offer of both deportation relief and work permits unconstitutional and unlawful. Many critics state that the president should enforce the laws passed by Congress, and that President Obama’s actions fly in the face of Congress.

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The Obama administration responded that both Republican and Democratic presidents have protected immigrants from deportation using executive authority in the past. However, a major difference with past presidents’ actions and President Obama’s measures are that President Obama’s will affect a much greater number of immigrants.

Here’s an article about an ACLU lawsuit regarding children of immigrants.

John Yoo and Robert Delahunty, two critics of the measures who worked for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during President George W. Bush’s presidency, argue that such prosecutorial discretion must be applied much more narrowly.

However, the 135 scholars stated that just because the actions are broad in scope does not make them unlawful. They said, “The president could conceivably decide to cap the number of people who can receive prosecutorial discretion or make the conditions restrictive enough to keep the numbers small, but this would be a policy choice, not a legal issue.

Here’s an article about the Department of Justice breaking down educational barriers for immigrant children.

The statement is an updated version of a letter dated September 3 from many of the same professors and experts to President Obama that delineated legal arguments and precedent for executive action. The group was organized by Stephen H. Legomsky at the Washington University School of Law, Hiroshi Motomura at UCLA School of Law, and Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia at the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law.

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