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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

In US, White House wants you to shut up about binational same-sex couples

Immigration Reform Leaders Arrested in Washing...Image by Nevele Otseog via Flickr
By Prerna Lal

The Obama Administration is reportedly calling on Congressional members to stop making calls on behalf of stopping the deportations of certain immigrants from the country. It’s a gag order as a response to increasing pressure from several immigrant advocacy groups calling on Obama to stop the deportations, be it for undocumented students, parents of U.S. citizens or same-sex bi-national couples.

Han Nichols reporting for Bloomberg News:
Several members of Congress who were scheduled to attend a March 31 news conference on the issue said administration officials contacted them to voice concern about their participation.
Until U.S. immigration law is overhauled, the lawmakers say, Obama should use his executive power to protect families facing deportation or separation because at least one parent is an illegal immigrant.
“The staffers that are attached to us, the liaisons, they transmitted some concern,” said Representative Mike Honda of California, a former chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, referring to the White House legislative affairs office. “They would have loved us not to have gone to the press conference.”
Representative Mike Honda has been a leader for immigration reform and an outspoken voice in Congress.

Openly pointing out the hypocrisy of the Obama Administration on this matter is another step forward in the right direction.
The administration argues that it doesn’t have the legal authority to exempt certain immigrant categories from the law.
“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case,” Obama said at a March 28 town hall sponsored by the Univision television network. “There are laws on the books that Congress has passed.”
Now, if only mainstream media did its research, they could report that President Obama is not being totally forthcoming about his executive powers.

The Department of Homeland Security granted deferred action to the surviving spouses of U.S. citizens in 2009.

Attorney Angelo Paparelli notes that Obama has also used the executive remedy of “parole in place” on a blanket basis to help foreign citizens of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Deferring deportations to Haiti and providing deferred enforced departure to citizens of Japan are also some examples of an executive agency using prosecutorial discretion.

There is no reason that USCIS cannot use approved I-797s [Notice of Action] to grant conditional residency to certain immigrants residing in the United States. It actually makes no sense to deport a family member of a U.S. citizen or legal resident who will soon be eligible for a green card through adjustment of status.

Change takes courage. And Obama doesn’t seem to have any on immigration. So much for the son of a Kenyan immigrant.
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