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Fate of family-based visas uncertain

Families in North Carolina may be aware that two of President Obama's immigration initiatives are set to begin on Feb. 18. However, that start might be delayed depending on the decision facing a United States District Court judge. Both the fate of family-based visas and an impending shut down of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may initially rest with this one man.

The first of the initiatives in question allow parents of U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents to remain in the country and work. Secondly, President Obama has authorized the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which provides work authorizations to immigrants who came to the United States when they were children. The Obama Administration contends that the President is well within his authority by taking these actions.

The lawsuit, which was filed by 26 states, challenges that representation. The states are requesting an injunction to halt the executive actions from going forward until the lawsuit makes its way through the court system. At the same time, Congress is set to vote on funding for DHS, but the bill to do so includes immigration measures that some in Congress do not support. Therefore, if Congress does nothing between now and Feb. 27, DHS could shut down.

The judge's decision, and any actions Congress may take between now and the end of February, could affect the issuance of family-based visas in North Carolina and across the country. In the field of immigration law, more than in some other fields of law, the interplay among the three branches of the federal government can have a crucial impact on millions of lives. Because people's livelihoods and family lives are at stake, it is important to keep track of these proceedings and related events.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Lawsuit Against Obama Over Immigration Could Change Dynamic On DHS Fight", Elise Foley, Feb. 12, 2015

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