As we’ve been reporting, we received good news from the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday: new immigration and deportation guidelines have been announced, which if implemented to their fullest could mean the end of deportations for DREAMers.
You might remember that in April, 22 Democratic Senators sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to grant deferred action to young students eligible for the DREAM Act. Yesterday, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano wrote back, announcing that the administration had indeed established a new process for handling the deportation cases of DREAMers and other sympathetic individuals. Prosecutorial discretion will now be applied on a case-by-case basis, Napolitano said, stressing that this was not a categorical action on any subset of immigrants. Simply put: given DHS’ limited resources, they would focus more on deporting violent, criminal immigrants, and less on persecuting hardworking young students who have called the United States home for nearly their entire lives.
Sound reasonable? Perhaps to reasonable people.
Unfortunately, we live in a world with Lamar Smiths and Fox News types, and you can imagine how the anti-immigrant side is taking this news. President Obama’s administration took a step toward doing the right thing, and the nativists are already blasting him with furious calls and letters. A roundup of comments from the right wing reveals them for what they are: xenophobic, nativist, and anti-immigrant. They respond with knee-jerk statements of hate:
[This is immigration overhaul] via executive fiat. This plan amounts to backdoor amnesty for hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of illegal aliens. It’s encouraging more illegal immigration at the exact moment we need federal focus on border security. We need to remind President Obama that we elected a president that serves beneath the law and did not anoint a king that is above the law.
Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is the leader of the Mass Deportation Caucus and chair of the House Judiciary Committee:
The administration has again made clear its plan to grant backdoor amnesty to illegal immigrants. They have created a working group that appears to have the specific purpose of overruling, on a ‘case-by-case’ basis, an immigration court’s final order of removal, or preventing that court from even issuing such an order.
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. 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…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.
I’m just furious. I would think it’s illegal, but I guess that’s for a court to decide. This is a jobs agenda, but the jobs are for illegal immigrants.
[This move is a] high crime. Obama just nullified the elections, your votes, the U.S. Constitution, Congress, and every letter, fax, or call you have directed at Congress to defeat this AMNESTY legislation 8 times in the last five years.
Maggie at the Lonely Conservative blog:
Are we going to sit by and let this happen?
The administration says it will review cases one-by-one because the court dockets are crammed with illegals. If they are illegal, why are they going through court? Just send them back. We should not be wasting time, money and energy on people we know are not in this country legally.
Bruce McQuain at Questions and Observations, in a post entitled, “Ignoring the Law to Buy Votes”:
But now, it appears, all appearances of following the law as laid down by Congress seems to have been thrown under the bus. The Obama administration has, for all intents and purposes, decided what how the law will be interpreted whether Congress likes it or not. After all, there’s an election in the offing, activist groups to be satisfied and votes to be bought…
This, of course, makes it clear to any illegal immigrant what the bare minimum is necessary to avoid deportation. It’s a government sponsored “okay” to stay illegally. Just meet one of the criteria (or appear too) and we’ll ignore the law for you.
Robbie Cooper at Urban Grounds:
When I first read this headline, Obama to deport illegals by ‘priority’ I misread it and thought it read, Obama to make deporting illegals a priority.
And I though, “Hey…something I can finally get behind our President on and fully support. That’s good.”
Of course, reality quickly set in, and I realized that our Panderer in Chief was, once again, refusing to enforce the laws of our nation.
If they wanted to enhance public safety in the most efficient manner possible, they’d just mass deport their illegal asses as quickly as we catch them. There is no “due process” or courts needed. Not here legally? On the next bus back to Mexico, senor. You’re not from Mexico, you say? You’re from Honduras? Well, when we drop you off in Mexico, keep walking south till you get home, amigo.
In other words, the DREAM act by presidential diktat without the consent of Congress, who have already repudiated the DREAM Act three times…the president took an oath to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. In taking that oath, he simply lied.
Jim Hoft from Gateway Pundit:
It’s an Obama world.
No morals. No money. No rules. No borders.
The PJ Tattler at Pajamas Media:
Well here we go. What Congress won’t do because the people oppose it, Obama will do because he just flat out doesn’t care what the people want at all. These lawless types put la raza before the country.
Keep millions here illegally when they should be deported (and they will be grateful to you for helping them continue to break the law), militate against election security and real voter ID requirements, race bait anyone who questions what you’re doing. Do the math here — Obama is counting on illegal voters to keep him in office and is abusing his executive powers to that end. It’s obvious.
Wow. And there you have it. Yesterday’s announcement hasn’t even been implemented into policy yet, and the right is doing everything it can to tear apart this step forward. Administrative fiat, governing like an emperor, gross overreach of the law, refusal to implement justice—it’s as if they all got together in a room and brainstormed synonyms for their spin.
President Obama is, in fact, still implementing the new policy. All enforcement agencies, however, are given the right to set use discretion (and these right wingers might want to ask one of their own, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), about that). But, nothing but mass deportation will ever be enough for the nativists.
Immigration activists are used to fighting to achieve progress. And, we’re used to the hate-filled rhetoric from our opponents. We’ll have to counter them in order to keep moving forward. In the days and weeks ahead, we hope you’ll join with us and fight to preserve our victories.