Many people are calling our law office to assess what impact the mid-term elections, in which the Republicans have taken control of the Senate, will have upon immigration law and practice. The answer is no one knows for sure --- politics is like that --- but it is possible to make some informed guesses in order to curb a little anxiety or excessive hope.
Most disturbing have been the threats made by the Republican leaders to act like maddened bulls or start poisoning wells if the President dares to make any administrative or discretionary changes of policy pending some point down the road . . . These threats, which include suspending scheduled budget action, and the previously asserted lawsuits against the President, are, in my opinion, unlikely to either deter the President from acting, or have much impact on the possible directives that may be issued.
Why? The sad fact is that the President really can't do much, and as much as his opponents try to make it sound like a big power grab, it is not --- it is simply the exercise of governmental discretion which is the executive perogative. And the benefits will simply be temporary and no real solution for many of the "illegals" who are hoping for some relief from the constant threat of deportation.
Any executive action will probably have a positive economic impact and assist some humantarian situations, which will quiet the opponents a little, but long-term solutions will be postponed for probably at least another year, as debate ebbs and flows. Most likely, family members of legal permanent residents, including DACA temporary residents, will be the beneficiaries of the executive order, BUT as with DACA, the potential applicants may be detered by the worry that the Congress will figure some way to use the process to identify those who could then be deported. Estimates of the potential applicants vary from 4 million to 7 million.
Until the opponents of the President craft some coherent strategy, there is no ability to even project a compromise that could be passed and not vetoed. And that's where the uncertainty is. There are so many other items on their agenda, rolling back health care, financial and environmental regulation, that the more difficult immigration issue is likely to be passed over until the next election cycle really really looms.
So . . . not much to be too excited over . . . probably there will be some incremental progress but more waiting is certain --- Hopefully the President will lessen some of the hardship, depending on how strong he feels, but any substantial change in the law is highly unlikely.