STATES TAKE THE LEAD ON IMMIGRATION LAW

It seems the federal government is being impliedly preempted by the sister States on the issue of immigration reform. From the looks of the many immigration laws being enacted by States’ legislatures, contrasted by the inaction of their federal counterpart, immigration is slowly becoming a domain shared between the feds and States with the balance of powers going to the States. This is a field that the feds would have us believe they intend to completely dominate, however the total abandonment of all things immigration by the feds, leaving the States to fend for themselves will likely hand over dominion of the issue to the States. With a US Supreme Court largely favorable to States’ rights, it is likely that one of the many lawsuits being brought forward by States like Arizona and others will eventually prevail over the feds.

The Supreme Court being the only organ of the federal government still fully functioning will have to decide the issue eventually since those currently charged with that task refuse to act. It is no secret that the republican majority in the House is in no hurry to settle the issue of immigration beyond the “Secure Borders first” position they have taken. Just yesterday, President Obama shattered any hope that Immigration practitioners held that he might use the power of Executive Orders to level the playing field saying that it was not an option. In the meantime, ICE keeps breaking up families through indiscriminate removal; States keep churning new immigration laws and federal agencies left to their own devices keep enacting new laws by feat through regulations. There will be hell to pay in 2012.

Aime M. Katambwe, Esq. 3/30/2011

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USCIS WILL ENFORCE DOMA EVEN IF FEDS WON’T

As we all know by now, on February 23, 2011, the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) made the decision to stop defending Section 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), raising hopes for same-sex married couples who have applied for green cards. On that day, USCIS began to hold same-sex green card applications in abeyance while it sought guidance as to the meaning of the USDOJ’s announcement. The official word came in last night, March 29, 2011, that the USCIS will continue to deny same-sex bi-national couples, merely based on the enforcement of DOMA. There will be no change, since, according to USCIS press secretary Christopher Bentley, the policy in place is there to enforce the law.

So, USCIS will resume its discriminatory practices of old. What this will mean for future advocates who decide to sue over this matter, only time will tell. But it seems as though the USCIS is begging for a lawsuit on the issue of DOMA . . . or is it that it will take a similar announcement by USDHS Secretary Napolitano as well. Is the DOMA still enforceable if the USDOJ will not put up a defense against it? Stay tuned.

Aime Katambwe, Esq. 3/30/2011

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