While Congress has the ultimate responsibility to determine immigration law, the American Immigration Council reminds the President that he has substantial authority to make fixes to the immigration system within the confines of current immigration law. From AIC director Ben Johnson:


Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, noted upon release of the memo:

"Ultimately, responsibility for failing to reform our dysfunctional immigration system rests on Congress. However, it is rarely the case that a President's hands are tied by existing law--and where the President disagrees with current law, his or her policy choices regarding the implementation of that law take on even greater importance.  In the context of immigration, the President and his cabinet have a wide range of choices available that can ameliorate some of the worst excesses of current law.  The legal memo attempts to give a short review of these options and demonstrates how wide the ranges of choices really are.

No matter how definitive or rigid a law may appear, the exercise of executive branch authority is critical to the ultimate implementation of the law.  The opportunity to infuse executive branch actions with a generous spirit is always within a president's reach.  The choice on immigration today is whether the President and his cabinet will act boldly to use their authority to improve the lives of millions, or will allow the current enforcement-only mindset to continue unabated.  Such choices will have an impact for years to come, and require thoughtful and diligent attention."


AIC has issued a memorandum describing the President's authority and it is co-signed by AIC as well as Bo Cooper, the former general counsel for USCIS and Crystal Williams, the director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The memo specifically describes the Deferred Enforced Departure option.