The Beginning of the End of Obama’s Immigration Legacy?


Monday’s decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the halting of the President’s DAPA amnesty program was a mighty big win for immigration patriots around the country. But the ramifications of the court’s decision may actually be bigger than most appreciate. The recently leaked revelations that the President has other, grander plans besides DAPA to hand out work permits en masse means that his wider immigration agenda may also now be in flux. The same goes for previously enacted work permit giveaways, including the 2012 DACA amnesty as well as other equally unlawful programs aimed at appeasing the President, the Hispanic extremist lobbies, and the Big Business. In his final year in office, we may just see the toppling of Obama’s entire immigration legacy.

Unlike the previous court decisions in the States’ case against amnesty, which have focused more on the deportation-deferral portion of DAPA, the Fifth Circuit’s decision on Monday targeted the President’s purported employment authorization powers. As the court described Obama’s attorneys’ position on this issue, “[t]he interpretation of those provisions that the Secretary advances would allow him to grant lawful presence and work authorization to any illegal alien in the United States” (emphasis mine). This they called, “an untenable position in light of the INA’s intricate system of immigration classifications and employment eligibility.” For a close discussion of that “intricate system” see here. The majority further stated “the INA flatly does not permit the reclassification of millions of illegal aliens as lawfully present and thereby make them newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization.” (emphasis mine). This was a big hit to a central part of the Obama team’s argument.

The key provision advanced by the Obama administration to support its supposedly limitless work authorization powers, 8 U.S.C. §1324a(h)(3), had for decades up until the DACA amnesty simply been understood as defining the term “unauthorized alien” for purposes of the INA’s employer prohibition on hiring illegal aliens. The definition excludes those aliens to whom Congress has instructed the DHS secretary to grant work authorization and those aliens to whom Congress has instructed the DHS secretary to exercise discretion as to whether to grant work authorization under specified criteria. Since DACA, DHS has been using their “newfound” powers under the provision to create several work permit giveaways, including to spouses of H-1B visa holders and to foreign STEM-graduates. Dependent spouses of H-1B visa recipients obtain so-called “H-4″ visas, a program that’s been in place since the H-1B was created under the Immigration Act of 1990. It was only this year, however, that the administration decided it actually had the authority to provide such spouses with work authorizations. Implemented last spring, the DHS move has led to tens of thousands of open-market work permits going to those who went from having no work permits for decades to now having more job market flexibility than their H-1B dependents, who are tied to their employers for the duration of their visas. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), whom I work for, is challenging the move in federal court.

Continue reading the story here.

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Founded in 1987, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) is a national, nonprofit, public-interest legal education and advocacy law firm.


  1. avatar Raymond Babcock says:

    The people who coming here as illegal migrants. Someone is giving them work. I say punish the people who give them work. When you say you want the minimum wage to be $15.00 dollars an hour. Then advocate open borders. Illegal migrants put downward pressure on wages. Wher some of these people come from they make a dollar a day. I have met some of these people ready to work. They come for free medical food stamps public housing.

  2. Obama’s Running Out of Steam

    Hardly no one supports his crazy anti-American immigration plan anymore….no matter how the foreign/corporate billionaire funded MSM tries to push it on us.

  3. avatar SecBorders says:

    It’s great to hear more good news. The system of checks and balances our Founding Fathers created is working as intended. Keep up the good work IRLI!

    • avatar No Change says:

      Well it will happen eventually no difference from the Slavery……when black people began the Riots as per history and vandalism……had it not been for P. Lin…. time…would have been later anyways… will the illegals be the same way otherwise as per I told Leland below…..but Congress is unwilling to do something about it and the businesses….you think the corporations want to fix it as it appears on TV….no they don’t they want cheap labor and nor even though the Unions are no better, the corporations are squashing the Unions in construction to bring cheap labor……

      You see, Corps, jobs, middle class, companies overseas……..MAN…..the illegals are just a scape goat and you still do not see it…….what an easy way to mislead the people……

  4. avatar Leland says:

    The bottom line is that the administration claims that they are using “prosecutorial discretion” in handing out these work permits, in spite of the fact that the actions they are taking are in direct opposition to the clear cut intent of the laws. It’s one thing for them to say that they are not deporting some illegals because they feel other illegals are more of a “priority” for deportation.

    But it’s a complete stretch for them to say that because they are not deporting someone, then that person somehow has a right to work.They do not, and one action does not equate to allowing the other action.

    • avatar No Change says:

      That is why we need immigration reform but “THINK”…………20+ years….not reform and the same then “WATCH”…..nothing in 20 years and then 30% of the population plus will be a descendant of the 6% of the population + the ones coming WHY?…because some citizens like yourself say NO and the other half YES….SO


      So then what are you going to do if in fact this is a fact…would you still complain because it is a waste of time or take this time to the rest of your life that will amount to a years+ time and enjoy life instead…? tough question even for myself……

  5. avatar Concerned Citizen says:

    Thank you IRLI for your continued great work.