The Obama administration announced on Thursday that it will be taking a rational approach to immigration reform, by focusing on "dangerous illegal immigrants" and ignoring those undocumented immigrants who are "students, were brought here as children, or have long family ties to the country [who] could be released and granted a work permit."
As part of the policy change, the Department of Homeland Security intends to review the cases of approximately 300,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation orders.
The Department of Homeland Security must focus its resources on removing those who have been convicted of major crimes and are threats to national security or public safety, said Secretary Janet Napolitano.
"Doing otherwise hinders our public safety mission - clogging immigration court dockets and diverting DHS enforcement resources away from the individuals who pose a threat to public safety," she wrote in a letter to a group of senators supporting new immigration legislation.
Not coincidentally, one of the most striking things that Sen. Mark Udall said on Wednesday, when he was here in the Springs, had to do with immigration reform:
We are not having an honest discussion about immigration reform. I think that there's a lot of common sense that could be applied ... that would secure our borders more effectively, would give our employers the tools that they are hiring documented and legal workers. But I think that you also say to the people who are here that we want you to come out of the shadows. We are going to give you legal status, but you first have to pass a background check, you have to pay a fine, you have to be employed — you have to show that you want to be American. And I think that there are a lot of people who would meet that standard.
Of course, this is a move that isn't sitting well with the anti-immigrant Right. The New York Post referred to the move as an "olive branch" extended by Obama to "shore up the Latino vote."
So, let's recap. The Secure Communities program is working, though it is slow. But since Barack Obama is running for reelection, he's got to shore up the Latino vote by offering an olive branch to that population in the form of stopping the deportations he was touting only a few months ago. The fact that Obama assumes Latino Americans don't care for law and order is offensive on its face. His refusal to implement laws he doesn't like is shocking only in so far as how baldly opportunistic it is.
And here is a press release from CAIR, Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform, also:
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) responded sharply to today's White House announcement that it will essentially halt enforcement against illegal aliens who have not been convicted of criminal offenses. Today's move by the Obama administration amounts to an administrative amnesty and a sweeping overhaul of the nation's immigration policy without approval by Congress, charged FAIR. The announcement was posted on the White House website.
Under the guise of setting priorities for immigration enforcement, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Munoz lays out entire classes of illegal aliens who will no longer be subject to enforcement. The plan entails dropping existing cases and taking "steps to keep low-priority cases out of the deportation pipeline in the first place," Munoz writes.
"Today's policy announcement clearly demonstrates the Obama administration's defiance of both the constitutional separation of powers and the will of the American public in its relentless effort to gain amnesty for illegal aliens," stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "From the outset, the administration has refused to enforce many immigration laws, essentially placing its own political agenda ahead of its constitutional responsibilities to carry out laws enacted by Congress. It has also acted aggressively to prevent state governments from implementing laws aimed at discouraging illegal immigration, including filing lawsuits against Arizona and Alabama.
"Supporters of comprehensive and targeted amnesties for illegal aliens have consistently failed to win approval by Congress or gain support from the American public," Stein noted. "Having failed in the legislative process, the Obama administration has simply decided to usurp Congress's constitutional authority and implement an amnesty program for millions of illegal aliens."
The announcement seemingly comes in response to growing demands from illegal alien advocates that the administration exercise broad discretionary powers not to enforce laws against entire classes of people who are in the country illegally. "In spite of repeated statements from President Obama himself that he lacks the constitutional authority to implement an amnesty by executive fiat, the administration is now doing precisely that," said Stein.
"This step by the White House amounts to a complete abrogation of the President's duty to enforce the laws of the land and a huge breach of the public trust. Never, in the history of federal immigration enforcement, has an administration willfully and so egregiously usurped Congress's and the people's role to decide immigration issues. In essence, the administration has declared that U.S. immigration is now virtually unlimited to anyone willing to try to enter - and only those who commit violent felonies after arrival are subject to enforcement. This is not the nation's immigration law," concluded Stein.