Immigrating Families and Children - A Best Interests of the Child Problem of Executive Action??

Immigration of families to the United States is one of the two key aspects of legal immigration, with the goal of the US government being to reunify families whenever possible.  Under this legal process, family strength and stability and the best interests of children are the objective – or in two words: Family Restoration. 

When children are left behind by parents who are deported, their best interests are a great challenge to meet.  Addressing that problem and finding its solutions are outlined in “Are We There Yet? Immigration Reform to Protect the Best Interests of Children.  

Over the past year President Obama has taken sweeping executive action to bypass avenues of legal immigration, many of which have already resulted in not providing for the best interests of children – a legal requirement in the US whenever a child is involved.  Today a federal appeals court will hear oral arguments about whether to keep or rescind a hold on the President’s recent executive actions on immigration.  Watch the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal video on Will Obama's Immigration Actions Remain on Hold?  to find out more about the hold placed on those actions by a federal district court in Texas. 

Immigration to benefit families ought to provide for family restoration in the best interests of children.


  1. The recent executive action taken by the President was bold and in line with his previous campaign decisions. When President Obama sees a problem in the country, which no one can seem to agree on how to fix, he takes action. In 2012, he took initiative by launching "We Can't Wait," a campaign of executive orders which included tougher regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and better education and employment options for returning troops. President Obama has continually relied on his executive orders (three on his very first day in office) and has continually been criticized, but he is only doing what most of the recent past presidents have done, immediately advancing his policy priorities when finding it necessary (Reagan limited government regulation he thought was hurting economic growth, Bush authorized the NSA to eavesdrop without a warrant on phone calls made by U.S. citizens to root out terrorist plots). Obama has taken action to fix the broken immigration system because congress has not yet done so and every day, so many people's lives are terribly changed forever because of the current state of the system. Looking through a family law lens, the biggest issues regarding current immigration laws have to do with protecting children and keeping families from being ripped apart.The major part of President Obama's immigration related executive order will extend deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the U.S. for some years, limiting the number of children being separated from their parents. This will further the best interest of children and, as Washington, California, D.C. and more have argued, will substantially benefit states and will further public interest. Even when the family law lens is removed, one can see, as more than 20 police chiefs, sheriffs from across the country, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association have, that the executive action will improve public safety by encouraging cooperation between police and individuals with concerns about their immigration status. Legislators had not come up with a solution, thousands of children and families were suffering, so the President did what he believed was in the best interest of children, families, and the entire U.S.

  2. Even if the injunction is lifted, there is still a chance that Obama’s executive decision may be overturned by the Supreme Court or that a new president will change the executive action with his or her pen. Immigration law, as it stands now, is unclear and unpredictable. An attorney should likely counsel her clients with caution in regards to the executive action because of this unpredictability, especially if the client is here illegally and they have young children who are naturalized U.S. citizens.