This sorta kinda goes with the last post — the President’s requests to Congress to work with the White House on immigration reform have been ignored. So, the White House is doing some reform on its own.
The President has no power to change immigration law, but he has some room to maneuver within the implementation of the law. Instead of deporting people wholesale, the administration has set some priorities.
The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would suspend deportation proceedings against many illegal immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety.
The new policy is expected to help thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as young children, graduated from high school and want to go on to college or serve in the armed forces.
White House and immigration officials said they would exercise â€œprosecutorial discretionâ€ to focus enforcement efforts on cases involving criminals and people who have flagrantly violated immigration laws.
â€œThis case-by-case approach will enhance public safety,â€ she said. â€œImmigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.â€
Many people in the country illegally will now be able to get work permits, meaning they will no longer be undocumented.
This is sensible. Naturally, righties are going ballistic.
The element of discretion is key here â€” the administration canâ€™t change the law unilaterally, but it can choose to prioritize among cases. As of yesterday, felons and security threats will be (and stay) at the top of the list, while young people who entered the country illegally with their families as children will not face deportation.
If this latter part sounds kind of familiar, itâ€™s because the DREAM Act is intended to help these same young people. Republicans have refused to allow the legislation to advance, and while the bill is still worthwhile, yesterdayâ€™s move from the Obama administration will directly benefit those kids who stand to benefit from the proposal.
I’ll expect the usual howlers to explain how this shows the President wants to promote the GOP agenda. Of course, I think it shows that he is trying to move some things in a more progressive direction within the limitations of the constraints that Congress imposes.