Citizen’s group asks: What’s the legal basis for Obama’s ‘amnesty’ program?

Jim Kouri by Jim Kouri on August 22nd, 2012

This is article 281 of 466 in the topic Immigration

It will be possible for undocumenteds approved under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to receive California licenses, if the government grants those folks one of the legal-status documents required by the DMV, Dennis Romero wrote in Tuesday’s edition of LA Weekly.

However, proponents of tough border security and enforcement of immigration law claim that Obama’s executive order begs the question: What’s the legal basis for Obama’s amnesty program?

On Aug. 16, 2012, the public-interest watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for documents related to the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” directive issued on June 15, 2012.

The new Obama administration policy would allow certain illegal aliens under the age of 31 to apply for protected status that would prevent their deportation and authorize them to work.

Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks the following records in its June 22, 2012, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request:

“All records concerning…the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to exercise prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children…Such records include, but are not limited to, opinions, memoranda, or legal advice rendered by the Office of Legal Counsel.”

The DOJ acknowledged that on June 25, 2012, it received the FOIA request, and was required to issue a final response by July 24, 2012. To date, the DOJ has failed to respond to the request in accordance with FOIA law.

On June 22, 2012, Judicial Watch also submitted a similar FOIA request directly to the DHS, which acknowledged that on June 28, 2012, it had received the request. After granting itself a 10-day extension, DHS was required by FOIA law to respond by August 10, 2012. To date, the DHS has also failed to comply with FOIA law.

“This new Obama amnesty program is an attack on the constitutional role of Congress and runs rough shod over existing immigration law. It is no surprise that the Obama administration doesn’t want to share the legal basis for this unilateral executive action and is violating Freedom of Information Act law to keep the American people in the dark,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“President Obama and his political appointees are abusing their offices with this new amnesty program. If the administration were confident about the legality of its actions, it wouldn’t be keeping secret the legal basis for President Obama’s extraordinary decision to unilaterally change the law,” Fitton said.

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