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Halting the HALT Act?

The HALT Act (“Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation” Act, H.R. 2497) was introduced on July 12, 2011 by Representative Lamar Smith, D-Tex., Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. A companion bill (S. 1380) was introduced in the Senate by Senator David Vitter, R-La.

Proposed legislation would suspend certain powers the President has under current law to prioritize the deportation of criminals and suspend the deportation of individuals whose countries have been decimated by natural disasters, whose families serve in the U.S. military, or for whom other circumstances warrant leniency or special consideration. Executive powers would be restored on January 22, 2013, the day after President Obama’s first term ends.

Seventy-five Democratic members of Congress subsequently signed a letter to President Obama in opposition to the HALT Act, which they described to Obama as “a direct attack on your judgment, knowledge of the law, and ability to apply the laws of the United States firmly and equitably for the benefit of the American people.”

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing on the HALT Act on July 26, 2011. The American Immigration Lawyers Association stood with over 70 organizations working with victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, and other violent crimes, in urging Congress to reject the HALT Act.

For more information on the HALT Act, please see http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/dissecting-halt-act-impact-eliminating-discretion-our-immigration-system.