In an unprecedented expansion of executive authority President Barack Obama announced today that his administration would circumvent Congress and provide amnesty to illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to the U.S. as children.
In yet another unconstitutional power grab, President Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would take action “in the absence of any action from Congress to fix our immigration system.”
“Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, “Obama said.
Obama called the measure a “temporary stop-gap solution” and claimed it would not provide amnesty to these illegal immigrants or a pathway to citizenship. However, based on the Associated Press’ initial report on the new policy this morning, it would in fact provide amnesty to young illegal immigrants and could allow them to stay in the country indefinitely by allowing them to apply for and renew work permits every two years with no limit on renewals.
Per the Associated Press, the policy will stop the deportation of illegal immigrants who are “are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military.”
Obama’s announcement today is a reversal of comments he made last year claiming he could not issue such an Executive Order because of Constitutional checks and balances and that such action would be “inappropriate.”
At a Univision town hall for students, Obama, who has a degree in Constitutional law, said, “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through Executive Order, that’s just not the case.
“There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system, that for me to simply through Executive Order to ignore those Congressional mandates would not conform my appropriate role as President.”
Obama went on to claim that would not prohibit his administration from strongly advocating Congress pass legislation suspending deportations of non-violent illegal immigrants.
Today’s announcement comes heels of a report by The Washington Times that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has drafted a secret policy that will allow agents to “catch and release low-priority illegal immigrants rather than bring them in for processing and prosecution.”
President Obama’s immigration announcement is most certainly a response to growing pressure from the Hispanic community, a reliable Democratic base, to address immigration reform.
According to the DHS, under Obama 400,000 illegal immigrants are deported annually, up by 30 percent from President George W. Bush’s second term, in which he deported 300,000 annually.
The Obama administration’s attempts to uphold the law by deporting illegal residents threatens to cut into the 2- 1 margin by which he won Hispanics voters in 2008.
A Pew Hispanic Center briefing released at the end of 2011 shows that 59 percent of Hispanics and 52 percent of Hispanic registered voters say they disapprove of the Obama administration’s deportation policies, compared to only 27 percent and 31 percent, respectively, who approve of them.
Likewise, 91 percent of Hispanics say they support DREAM Act legislation “that would permit young adults who were brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children to become legal residents if they go to college or serve in the military for two years.”
Based on Pew’s estimates, 81 percent of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. are Hispanic, and 58 percent are from Mexico.
Obama’s election year decision to allow young illegal immigrants to remain in the country is the President’s latest attempt to appease supporters, who are growing tired of his broken promises.
After taking high-profile steps to target Hispanics, students and LGBT Americans, look for Obama to take a short-term interest in expanding the Department of Justice’s authority to block Republican efforts to pass Voter ID laws, legislation that groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) claim are racist, in order to shore up support among African Americans.