The “Si Se Puede” Filing Provides Authoritative Legal Evidence of Obama Administration’s Ability to Expand Deferred Action, Grant Relief to Future Beneficiaries of Immigration Reform
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and a group of undocumented people facing the threat of deportation, including Chicago resident Anibal Fuentes Aguilar, are using a little known provision of the Administrative Procedure Act to formally request the Department of Homeland Security expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the fullest extent permissible by law and to suspend deportations for immigrant workers and families who are likely future beneficiaries of immigration reform.
Under the law, agencies are required to allow members of the public to petition for the issuance of new rules or changes to or repeal of existing rules. DHS must provide a response to the petition and explain its decision to grant or deny petitioners’ request.
Referring to the significance of the petition drafted by the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law, NDLON Staff Attorney Jessica Karp explained, “After reading this document, there is no question whether the President can stop deportations. It shows that he can and he should. The only question left is, why hasn’t he? This petition presents the dilemma to DHS formally. It gives them to opportunity to correct years of reckless enforcement and also grant relief to immigrant workers and families who the President and leaders on both sides of the aisle all agree belong here.”
For Anibal Fuentes Aguilar of Chicago, Illinois who is scheduled for deportation at the end of February, the petition is part of his urgent attempt to remain with his family after immigration agents entered his house and detained him, while they were searching for someone else. “It has been horrible for me and my family to go through this. My baby who is 7 months old is a US citizen, and all I want to do is stay with him. I hope that DHS listens to us and the suffering of our families, so that no one else has to go through this.”
Many cite the “Sí se puede (Yes You Can)” rulemaking petition as the authoritative document on the President’s executive authority related to immigration enforcement. It cites extensive precedent to demonstrate the historic use of discretion and the constitutional authority of the executive branch to determine how laws are implemented.
Thomas Chew of Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic says, ““The Constitution gives the President unilateral power to determine when it is, and when it is not, in the national interest to initiate deportation proceedings. The only question that remains is whether this President will exercise his power to protect our nation’s immigrants and our nation’s economy from the devastation his immigration policies have wrought.”