E.g., 09/17/2014
E.g., 09/17/2014

Executive Action on Immigration: Six Ways to Make the System Work Better

In the absence of new U.S. immigration reform legislation, opportunities still exist within the executive branch and the administration to refine and strengthen current U.S. immigration laws and policies. The administration must therefore exercise its authority to field policies, programs, and procedures that are effective and fair in advancing the core goals of the nation’s immigration system.

Executive actions could be used to improve the nation’s immigration system performance in six discrete ways, including defining effective border control and promoting informed public debate and a broader consensus about border enforcement efficacy; as well as the creation of a White House Office on Immigrant Integration and a Cabinet-level interagency task force to set immigrant integration goals and targets while developing policy and funding mechanisms to meet them.

Other proposals involve the ability for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate waivers to inadmissibility due to “unlawful presence” before visa beneficiaries must leave the country; and having U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys screen all Notices to Appear for removal proceedings prior to their filing in immigration court. As well, the report notes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review should issue guidance governing the circumstances in which the government must appoint counsel in removal proceedings. Finally, DHS, in consultation with DOJ, should establish uniform enforcement priorities.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Defining What Constitutes Effective Border Control

III. Creating a White House Office on Immigrant Integration

IV. Facilitating the Legal Admission of Eligible Family Members

V. Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion across the System

VI. Alleviating Burdens on Clogged Courts

VII. Testing Legal Representation in Removal Proceedings

VIII. Conclusion