With President Obama’s executive actions on immigration in a state of legal uncertainty, the impact is hitting home for those eligible for deferred action. Immigration lawyers across the country are seeing a growth in deportations within the last week, despite the president’s recent assurances of safety.
At Wednesday’s town hall with José Díaz-Balart, the president said that border patrol officials must only focus on criminals and individuals currently crossing the border. “If you’ve been here for a long time and if you qualify generally, then during this period, even with legal uncertainty, they should be in a good place,” Obama said.
But immigration attorneys are concerned that the president’s actions are having a reverse effect, as ICE and border authorities reject the president’s requests.
“It appears as though the deferred action mechanisms are backfiring on the immigrant community,” immigration attorney Matthew Kolken said on msnbc Monday.Kolken added that the root of the problem rests in a lack of guidance to security agencies; giving them a sweeping range of discretion when it comes to choosing who to deport.
A solution to this uncertainty would require further White House action to put an end to deportation of immigrants that could potentially qualify for protections if the law is changed and an injunction is lifted. “They need to issue a new prosecutorial discretion memorandum, that incorporates the injunction and gives clear guidance to ICE,” Kolken said.
There are no official reports on the number of immigrants being deported as a result of continued legal standstill surrounding the expansion of DACA and DAPA.
Watch the full discussion in the video player at the top of the page.