Now that the Senate has failed to pass legislation that addresses the immigration concerns of the American people and Democratic leadership’s perceived need to protect the so-called ‘dreamer’ illegal aliens, the House becomes the focus of the acrimony. But if the House similarly finds Democrats unwilling to compromise their fixation on an amnesty for the ‘dreamers,’ the question becomes “what next?”
Activist judges in some jurisdictions are attempting to use the judicial system to protect the ‘dreamers’ from the possibility of deportation that is provided for in law – as NPR noted on February 16. Those efforts appear to be necessarily headed for the Supreme Court where the constitutionality of President Obama’s executive action decreeing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) must be decided. Remember that President Obama, on 22 occasions, said he did not have the legal authority to protect the ‘Dreamers’ en masse – before he went ahead and took the action anyway.
Pending a court resolution, ‘dreamers’ and their political backers are probably content with the status quo as long as that means they can continue to work and be protected against deportation – absent criminal conviction.
What appears to have not been discussed is whether the court challenges to deportation of the ‘dreamers’ also allows their continued legal employment. If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stops renewing DACA status for them on March 5, or whenever two highly political lower court injunctions are inevitably overturned, the work permits issued to them will also expire. Are they likely to voluntarily end their employment at that time? Is DHS likely to send the employers of former DACA beneficiaries a notice the alien is no longer authorized to work and that the employer is subject to sanctions if illegal employment continues? If the employment status of ‘dreamers’ is terminated, it likely would create new urgency among them and their sponsors in seeking a political settlement that includes real enforcement and immigration reform provisions.