Silicon Valley Congressional Leaders Oppose HALT Immigration Bill

Several Silicon Valley Congressional leaders signed off on a letter to President Obama opposing the newly proposed immigration law that strips away President Obama's ability to authorize Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to exercise prosecutorial discretion in removal cases. The proposed immigration law introduced by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is called "Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation Act" - or HALT for short. The bill attempts to discredit the Obama administration by temporarily suspending immigration law provisions only for the duration of President Obama's term. For the remainder of his current term, the bill would strip President Obama's ability to designate TPS for countries wreaked by havoc from civil war or natural disasters, such as Haiti and Sudan which are still designated for TPS. It would prevent granting humanitarian parole for persons to enter the U.S. unless the life of the person seeking parole was threatened. It would prevent eligible persons from obtaining deferred action. An example of how deferred action is applied to innocent victims is when the 10,000 cap on visas for victims of crimes is reached (a U visa), persons who would otherwise qualify for a U visa are placed on a waiting list and provided deferred action while in the queue.

The proposed immigration law was introduced in response to a memo issued last month by Customs and Immigration Enforcement Director, John Morton. The memo advised ICE personnel to exercise prosecutorial discretion when deciding which immigrants to refer for removal proceedings in order to focus the agency's resources on enforcement priorities, such as dangerous criminals.

This proposed bill comes amongst a new Associated Press Report concluding that the Obama administration is on track for a record level of removals (deportations.) Last year the Obama administration removed nearly 400,000 persons, a record. The administration claims that half of those were criminals.

As an immigration lawyer, I'm pleased to see my Representative opposing proposed immigration legislation that offers no real solutions and makes it clear that it is simply targeting the current administration. With that said, I'd like to see my Representative and those that signed off on the letter lead the way in proposing immigration reform that can appeal to both parties.

Immigration Reform / by Michelle Gee