David Rivera (R-FL) introduced the the Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status Act, or Stars Act, today. The bill would apply to students who were entered the U.S. before age 16, got a high school diploma, have no criminal record and were accepted to a four-year college or university. They would get a five year visa to study and then if they graduate they would be able to adjust status to permanent residency and eventually pursue citizenship.
No word yet on whether Lamar Smith, the House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman, will allow the bill to be considered, but Congressman Rivera says that he has not gotten a no from the chairman yet.
It's not clear if Senator Rubio's bill in the Senate will look like Congressman Rivera's but kudos to this Congressman for taking the initiative to push the GOP back in to the realm of the reasonable on immigration with this proposal.
President Obama has stated in the past that only Congress can help potential DREAM Act beneficiaries (those young people who entered the country as children and are willing to serve in the military or pursue a college education). Recently, he has backtracked from that position and implemented a prosecutorial discretion policy. But while this bill will help many avoid deportation, it still doesn't give most of these young people the ability to work and study in the US or serve in our military. Does the President have other options? According to 90 immigration law professors from law schools around the country, there are other tools in the President's chest that he has not yet chosen to use. They include deferred action, parole-in-place and deferred enforced departure. Hat tip to Dan Kowalski at Bender's for posting the letter.
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Court ruled unanimously today that the Defense of Marriage Act provisions requiring federal agencies to recognize same sex marriages conducted in jurisdictions where such marriages are unconstitutional. Those provisions in DOMA prevent USCIS from accepting applications from USC citizens seeking to sponsor same sex spouses for immigration benefits.
While the ruling is welcome, the court will delay implementing the decision until the Supreme Court decides if it wants to take up the case. Most legal pundits believe the Supreme Court will likely take up the case next year.
The White House has stated it believes the law and is not defending it in court anymore (Republicans in Congress are financing the defense). But the Administration is also allowing federal agencies to carry out the law and is insisting the courts must reach a final decision throwing out the law before it will stop enforcing it.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.