Obama Claims Power to Make Illegal Immigrants Eligible for Social Security, Disability
Does the president of the United States have the power to unilaterally tell millions of individuals who are violating federal law that he will not enforce that law against them now, that they may continue to violate that law in the future and that he will take action that makes them eligible for federal benefit programs for which they are not currently eligible due to their unlawful status?
Through Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, President Barack Obama is telling the Supreme Court exactly this right now.
The solicitor general calls what Obama is doing “prosecutorial discretion.”
He argues that under this particular type of “prosecutorial discretion,” the executive can make millions of people in this country illegally eligible for Social Security, disability and Medicare.
On April 18, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case. Entitled United States v. Texas, it pits President Obama against not only the Lone Star State, but also a majority of the states, which have joined in the litigation against the administration.
At issue is the policy the administration calls Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, which would allow aliens in this country illegally who are parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents to stay in the United States.
“The Executive Branch unilaterally created a program — known as DAPA — that contravenes Congress’s complex statutory framework for determining when an alien may lawfully enter, remain in, and work in the country,” the attorney general and solicitor general of Texas explained in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the states seeking to block the policy.
“DAPA would deem over four million unlawfully present aliens as ‘lawfully present’ and eligible for work authorization,” says the Texas brief. “And ‘lawful presence’ is an immigration classification established by Congress that is necessary for valuable benefits, such as Medicare and Social Security.”
In the administration’s brief, the solicitor general admits that the president’s DAPA program does not convert people illegally in the United States into legal immigrants. He further asserts that the administration at any time can decide to go ahead and remove these aliens from the country.
“Deferred action does not confer lawful immigration status or provide any defense to removal,” he says. “An alien with deferred action remains removable at any time and DHS has absolute discretion to revoke deferred action unilaterally, without notice or process.”
Despite this, he argues, the administration can authorize aliens here illegally on “deferred action” to legally work in the United States.
“Without the ability to work lawfully, individuals with deferred action would have no way to lawfully make ends meet while present here,” says the administration’s brief.
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