[JURIST] US Congressman Ben Quayle (R-AZ) [official website] on Monday introduced a bill aimed at blocking the Obama adminstration’s decision last week to stop deporting many illegal immigrants. President Barack Obama’s administrative action will temporarily stop deporting many illegal immigrants [JURIST report] under the age of 30 who were brought to the US as children. Quayle’s “Prohibiting Back-door Amnesty Act of 2012” reveals a divide [LAT report] within the Republican party, as some lawmakers subscribe to a more rigid immigration policy, while others are more willing to allow illegal immigrants—particularly the youths—to remain in the country. Quayle issued the following statement [press release]:
President Obama and Secretary Napolitano’s decision to end the enforcement of many of our nation’s immigration laws is stunning in both its arrogance and shortsightedness. This end-run around Congress was a direct rebuke to the principle of three co-equal branches of government outlined in our constitution and more broadly, our entire system of laws. My bill, the ‘Prohibiting Back-door Amnesty Act of 2012’ prohibits the implementation of this outrageous edict. I hope Congress will join me in taking immediate action to uphold our nation’s laws. It’s time for Congress to send a loud and clear message to the Obama Administration that its efforts to circumvent the legislative branch and ignore our nation’s laws will not stand.
The President’s policy will exercise discretion toward undocumented immigrants who were under 16 years old when they entered the US, have continuously resided in the US for at least five years, have graduated high school or served in the armed forces, have not committed a crime and are under the age of 30.
Immigration [JURIST backgrounder] has been a contentious issue recently. Last week the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] called for the immediate release [JURIST report] of immigrants being held in detention units in a prison in Arizona, alleging that the prison conditions violate the US Constitution. Earlier this month a federal judge heard arguments [JURIST report] to determine whether Arizona citizens may join in a class action lawsuit challenging the state’s controversial immigration law [SB 1070, PDF; JURIST news archive]. In May a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that several Arizona residents have standing to challenge SB 1070. Earlier in May, the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that immigrant children cannot rely on their parents’ immigration status.