With Congress in a standstill in recent months on comprehensive immigration reform, the White House has asked the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, to review current enforcement priorities in Washington. Secretary Johnson is reported to be in the midst of a thorough review of immigration law and agency memoranda regarding current practices by the Department of Homeland Security.
Many immigration practitioners expect DHS to implement a new discretionary program, similar to the DACA program which was announced in June 2012, which would affirmatively designate some people as a low priority for removal and pave the way for employment authorization and possibly other benefits.
Members of Congress aren’t blind to this possibility. While it has looked like immigration reform was dead in the water due to a portion of the Republican Party holding out, recent media reports seem to indicate that Republican leadership is working the back channels to bring some sort of immigration reform legislation to the House floor for consideration.
Most people involved, including the White House, would prefer legislative reform from Congress over policy adjustments by DHS. It will be interesting to see what develops over the summer in either a legislative or administrative fix to the very complicated immigration laws we currently live by.