Professor examines Trump’s immigration laws


UI News Bureau: Stauffer

Michael LeRoy – professor, Labor and Employment Relations

By Sana Khadilkar, Staff writer

Michael LeRoy, professor in Labor and Employment Relations and Law, recently released a paper about President Trump’s powers over immigration.

The paper, titled “The President’s immigration powers: Migratory labor and racial animus”, studies how President Trump’s immigration orders are impacting employment relations.

LeRoy said his research gained interest once President Trump suggested he could declare a national emergency in wake of the federal government shutdown and continue to employ civilians without paying them.

“I agree with Professor Leroy’s argument that our current administration has ‘overreached in his use of executive immigration powers, violating statutory and constitutional requirements,’ and believe it is the Supreme Court’s responsible and duty to their office and the people to continue blocking the president’s use of unilateral power,” said Aisha Shekara, sophomore in LAS and communications director for Illini Democrats.

The different immigration orders carried out by the president that LeRoy examines in his paper include the travel ban and the reversals of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability and Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest.

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The travel ban, in its fourth iteration, currently applies to predominantly Muslim countries, North Korea and Venezuela.

LeRoy also touched on how President Trump is threatening to terminate former President Barack Obama’s policy on deferred action, which jeopardizes the presence of Dreamers in the country.

“The president doesn’t have that authority,” LeRoy said. “It basically says we will put these people on hold for any kind of deportation proceedings. And presidents have discretion to do that, but President Trump wants to end that practice and open up the possibility of deporting all or many Dreamers.”

LeRoy said the idea behind DAPA is to keep families together, but the President has threatened to end DAPA and begin deportations. He has also ended MAVNI, a program that allows foreign nationals to enlist in the military and receive consideration for citizenship, said LeRoy.

“A much deeper concern is that President Trump has either racial or religious animus behind his orders,” LeRoy said. “Some courts have either explicitly pointed out that his orders are based on bigotry and prejudice, or appear to be. As broad as a president’s powers are, they can’t extend to the point of basic policy on religious or racial prejudice.”

Jack Johnson, president of Illini Republicans and junior in Engineering, said in an email that Illini Republicans recognizes the President has a wide authority on immigration shared with Congress.

“However, where LeRoy seems misconceived, is his apparent belief that advocating for a safe, lawful immigration process is inherently racist; a lifetime in the lime-light has proven (Trump) is anything but a racist, despite LeRoy’s preconceived notions about the Republican,” Johnson said.

LeRoy’s paper also studies how past presidents approached immigration with their executive powers and whether they were influenced by racial animus as well.

“What I found is … a remarkable similarity among Republican and Democratic presidents running from Lyndon Johnson through Barack Obama with the only exception of Richard Nixon,” LeRoy said.

The origins of DACA come from former President Ronald Reagan, LeRoy said. After the 1986 immigration law was enacted, it created amnesty for up to 3 million unlawful aliens. It did not address certain children who came to the country in the early 1980s and they were covered under the amnesty provisions.

Reagan asked Congress to fix the problem of the young children, but after Congress did not change anything, Reagan announced a policy of deferred enforcement, which is similar to when President Obama implemented DACA after the House of Representatives refused to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, LeRoy said.

LeRoy also noted the way President Trump has implemented his immigration policy has been unusual.

“There’s an administrative procedure act, and presidents can’t just snap their fingers even if they have authority. They have to allow for a period of public comment. They have to get noticed that they’re going to implement a rule, and President Trump just writes up an executive order and posts it or tweets it, and that’s it,” LeRoy said.

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