Attorney Ellen Sullivan Published in The List

Attorney Ellen Sullivan posted a post about the effects of President Obama’s executive actions in Boston Queer Agenda’s weekly publication The List. To read her missive, subscribe to the List, or continue reading below.


President Obama’s recent immigration announcement is exciting for many folks who for many years have lived and worked in the US and, during that time, given themselves to communities here in the U.S. By allowing some undocumented immigrants that have children who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents to obtain temporary status in the US, President Obama demonstrates his commitment to keeping families together and avoiding devastating deportations of US children’s parents. A summary of the President’s plan is here.
The President’s plan takes much-needed humanitarian action to address the dire unfairness of keeping millions of our neighbors in the shadows. However, the new policies have serious shortcomings. First, the President’s offer of “work permits” requires vulnerable individuals to declare their undocumented status to the government, without any information about how the government will deal with their situations once the “work permits” expire in three years. It is important for individuals who may apply for the “work permit” to consider how they will be affected if/when the government ends the program. That is, what will these folks do if the government puts them into deportation proceedings after the work permits expire? For many, the opportunity to come out of the shadows-even temporarily-is worth the risk of potential detention and/or deportation. For others, such as those who fear persecution in their home countries, the stakes are much higher.
Also, the new policies fail to help many individuals and families, especially LGBT families without children and those families where a parent may not be the biological or legal parent of a child. The Huffington Post reported on this issue here.
I applaud the President’s action, yet I hold out hope for broader action that will help more of my neighbors to live more freely and productively. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions: Attorney Ellen Sullivan at and 617-714-4375.