Inauguration Day: Obama's Immigration Legacy?


Today will see the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.#0160; Beginning today, Donald Trump will be President and Mike PenceVice President. A public ceremony will be held on*the West Front of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

The inauguration theme is "Uniquely American," which highlights the inaugural ceremony as "a uniquely American expression of our Constitutional system." The theme also stresses the peaceful transition of power, and that the American people are "united behind an enduring republic." The oath of office will be administered to Trump*by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts and the vice presidential oath of office will be administered to Pence by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

The nation is well-aware of the immigration promises of incoming President Trump -- build a wall, increase removals, etc.**It seems an appropriate time to consider President Obama's*immigration legacy.* I see it has a mixed bag.* There was much hope with Pre3sident Obama's election on the immigration front.* He promised to shepherd comprehensive immigration reform through Congress.* However, he delayed serious efforts to push reform legislation in his first term when his political capital was at its zenith.* Instead, the first four Obama years was devoted to health care reform.* On the immigration front, the administration set removal records, with roughly 400,000 noncitizens deportedeach year of his first term.* The hope was to demonstrate to Republicans in Congress that the administration was committed to immigration enforcement and persuade them to support immigration reform.* That political calculus was wrong.* There was no immigration reform and record numbers of deportations.

The Obama administration in 2012 unveiled an important program that gave hope to undocumented youth.* The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) provided temporary relief and work authorization to undocumented young people brought to the United States as children.* In 2014, he proposed an expanded deferred action program -- Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) -- but that was sidelined by a court injunction that was allowed to stand by an equally divided (4-4) Supreme Court in United States v. Texas.* President Trump has threatened to eliminate DACA so its long-term impacts are at best unclear.

I agree with Ana Navarro, a political commentator, and give President Obama a "C" on immigration.

This post originally appeared on ImmigrationProf Blog © 2017 by ImmigrationProf Blog. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson Kevin R. Johnson is Dean, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law, and Professor of Chicana/o Studies. He joined the UC Davis law faculty in 1989 and was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1998. Johnson became Dean in 2008. He has taught a wide array of classes, including immigration law, civil procedure, complex litigation, Latinos and Latinas and the law, and Critical Race Theory. In 1993, he was the recipient of the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award.Dean Johnson has published extensively on immigration law and civil rights. Published in 1999, his book How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man's Search for Identity was nominated for the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Dean Johnson’s latest book, Immigration Law and the US-Mexico Border (2011), received the Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards – Best Reference Book. Dean Johnson blogs at ImmigrationProf, and is a regular contributor on immigration on SCOTUSblog. A regular participant in national and international conferences, Dean Johnson has also held leadership positions in the Association of American Law Schools and is the recipient of an array of honors and awards. He is quoted regularly by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other national and international news outlets.

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