Professor Margaret Taylor signs letter advising President Obama to defer deporting young immigrants

Nearly 100 law professors from top universities nationwide, including Wake Forest University, signed a letter advising President Barack Obama that the executive branch has the authority to defer deportation of young immigrants — just weeks before the president announced plans to do so.

“General authority for deferred action exists under Immigration and Nationality Act … which grants the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to enforce the immigration laws,” the letter says.

“Though no statutes or regulations delineate deferred action in specific terms, the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that decisions to initiate or terminate enforcement proceedings fall squarely within the authority of the Executive.”

Hiroshi Motomura, a Susan Westerberg Prager law professor at UCLA, drafted the letter. In a phone interview, he countered criticism that Obama overstepped his authority, made law instead of following it or created a type of amnesty.

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