Discussion Points for Punto Legal- April 20, 2016
Last week, a caller asked if a blind or low-vision immigrant with a green card could get an exemption from the English and civics test for citizenship. The answer is yes. If you can show you are legally blind, you can get an exemption. Legally blind generally means vision worse than 20/200 in your best eye with correction. The hard part is proving you are legally blind to the immigration service. You could get your family doctor to help you if he knows you well. Otherwise, you would have to go to an ophthalmologist—not an optometrist—to have the N-648 form filled out. To get the exemption, you have to have a medical doctor sign the form.
On Monday, the DAPA case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. I have read the transcript of the argument; I have read the commentary on the argument; and I listened to some smart lawyers talk about the argument. Let me make the following observations:
First, keep in mind that the injury Texas said it was trying to prevent was having to issue driver’s licenses to DAPA parents.
Second, the Justices were prepared for the argument. The four good Justices—Breyer, Ginsberg, Sotomayor, and Kagan–were extremely well prepared.
Third, to my surprise, Texas conceded that the President could issue a “low priority” card; in other words, there was no problem with granting deferred action. Texas’s real objection is granting work authorization to DAPA parents.
Fourth, Texas ended up undermining its own case because it grants driver’s licenses based on deferred action—which it said was o.k.; Texas does not grant driver’s licenses based on work authorization.
Fifth, the Justices showed they definitely were not experts on immigration law, so a good deal of the argument was educating the Justices and that education will continue as they start thinking and writing.
Sixth, the popular press has said there will be no joy for immigrants in this case; there will be a 4-4 vote. I am more optimistic. I think either or both Justice Kennedy or Chief Justice Roberts may provide a 5th or 6th winning vote.
Finally, a decision should be out by the end of June because June 30 is the end of the Supreme Court’s term.