Election Posturing or For Real? Millions of blank green cards and work permits being ordered?

There are news reports that USCIS is ordering millions of green cards in anticipation of President Obama unilaterally acting and providing amnesty to persons undocumented in the United States. With the mid-term elections 2 weeks away, the timing seems very suspicious. It is no secret that the Latino community is disappointed (to say the least) with broken promises of the White House acting on Immigration. The White House had 2 years of Democratic controlled House and Senate, so essentially free reign to pass any kind of legislation it wanted. Those 2 years were blown opportunities in the eyes of the Latino Community. Nevertheless, the Latino community backed President Obama in his 2012 reelection, and it was thought that the Latino vote made the difference. After the election vote, President Obama made promises to get immigration reform done in 2013. On the flip side, Republicans in 2012 seemed anxious to pursue immigration reform as a key to their future of controlling the House and Senate. However, those promises rumors have since cooled with the mid-term elections. Onward and upward to 2015. The question now becomes will President Obama try to pursue immigration reform for the benefit of his legacy and try to force unilateral action. Or will republicans try to make immigration reform an issue for the 2016 presidential election.

As an immigration lawyer, it’s disappointing to see such a human issue in every respect become a political bargaining chip. These are our laws that we are talking about. The immigration system is clearly broken. Most people walking across the border do not want to circumvent the laws while risking their lives. Moreover, border agents likely do not want the dangerous job of stopping illegal immigration while also guarding against terrorism, drug running, among other illegal activity. Fair and transparent laws that provide short-term and long term immigration opportunities for all walks of life are necessary for law abiding people. It’s also an economic issue. It’s a global economy and businesses need access to the most qualified applicants, whether residing in the US or overseas. Businesses should have the freedom to hire who they want when they want, provided laws are followed.

However, it’s frustrating as an immigration attorney where undocumented people have few choices when already in the United States. Categories such as Deferred Action (DACA), 601A Provisional Waivers (extreme hardship), U visas for victims of crimes, among a few other challenging options. Rumors of millions of green cards 2 weeks after an election would be a lot more interesting that 2 weeks before the election. Let’s pray that immigration reform can become a reality shortly after the elections, as opposed to a political bargaining chip.