Angelo Paparelli: Immigration Reform Becomes 'Slow-Moving Kabuki Theater'

Angelo Paparelli: Immigration Reform Becomes 'Slow-Moving Kabuki Theater'

"President Barack Obama announced June 30, 2014, that his administration will take executive action this year to address the country’s immigration policies, effectively hammering the nail in the coffin of comprehensive legislative reform.

Obama laid the demise of reform at the feet of House Republicans, saying that Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told him last week that the House would not vote on an immigration bill this year. Boehner’s office confirmed the discussion and released the following statement: “I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don’t trust him to enforce the law as written. Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue.”

Calling the president’s announcement foreseeable, Angelo Paparelli, a partner in the business immigration practice group at Seyfarth Shaw, said that “the events culminating in the president’s announcement to take executive actions within his constitutional powers on immigration should surprise no one. What has unfolded over the last few months has been a slow-moving Kabuki theater display of intricate movement and posturing.”

The president promised to “fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” and announced the shift of “available and appropriate resources” from the interior to the border. “Protecting public safety and deporting dangerous criminals has been and will remain the top priority, but we are going to refocus our efforts where we can to make sure we do what it takes to keep our border secure,” Obama said.

This shift most likely means “less worksite enforcement for I-9 and unlawful employment violations, and a greater exercise of prosecutorial discretion to decline to start or to suspend deportation proceedings when low-priority undocumented immigrants are encountered,” said Paparelli." - SHRM, July 1, 2014.