A Solution for Obama’s Refusal to Enforce Immigration Laws?

In his December 2013 testimony before a House Committee, professor of law at George Washington University, Jonathan Turley criticized the lack of alarm from the judicial and legislative branches in response to President Obama’s abuse of executive power and disregard for the separation of powers guaranteed by our Constitution. Turley cited many examples where the President has taken action that exceeded his authority, including immigration policy and enforcement. Professor Turley points to the federal courts’ unwillingness to check this authority by dismissing cases for a lack of what is known as “standing;” that is, an individual’s ability to bring a lawsuit. Standing requires that an individual suffer an actual harm and prevents members of the general public from bringing suit to challenge policy decisions or failure by government officials to follow or enforce the law.

In a recent article, Dan Cadman, a research fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, recognizes this standing problem and proposes a novel solution to the current absence of a judicial remedy for lack of immigration enforcement: amending the immigration statutes to allow a cause of action for an individual who has suffered harm at the hands of an illegal alien (e.g., a victim of a crime or a victim’s family). Cadman echoes Turley’s criticism of the existing standing rules that prevent judicial relief as Obama effectively dismantles immigration control. He cites the 2012 case filed by 10 ICE officers against the Homeland Security Secretary and the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which was dismissed for a lack of standing. The solution, Cadman proposes, is to allow individuals to sue for the deportation of an illegal alien that has caused them that individual harm, which would require that the immigration statute, as it is now written, be amended. In his article, Cadman spells out the specific statutory parameters that would be required to hold officials responsible (and thus change their behavior), while preventing a flooding of the courts with citizen lawsuits. For the full story, visit http://cis.org/suing-for-deportation.

Posted by Margaret Hull

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