Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Steve Benen reports today that Obama moves on immigration, fulfils a DREAM:
President Obama will announce today one of the biggest moves of his presidency on immigration policy, and in the process, will offer needed relief to hundreds of thousands of families.
The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.
The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.
For all the talk about Obama's reluctance to take bold moves on key progressive policies, this is a major breakthrough. The president is going to face fierce condemnations from the right, but to his credit, it appears Obama is going to do it anyway.
Every year, tens of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants graduate from American high schools, but quickly find themselves stuck. They can't qualify for college aid, and they can't work legally. America is the only home they've ever known -- in most cases, they were, at a very young age, brought into the country illegally by their parents -- but at 18, they have few options. Many face deportation.
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How does this relate to Obama's new move? The president, no longer willing to wait for a dysfunctional and far-right Congress, will effectively implement the DREAM Act's goals on his own -- which is arguably the boldest thing he's done since the 2010 midterms.
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Anti-immigrant Republicans will no doubt be apoplectic, but they live in a perpetual state of outrage anyway, and Obama wasn't getting anywhere waiting for them to strike a broader compromise.
The GOP pander to Hispanic voters continues to fail with blunders like this: the RNC Latino site features photos of Asian children. RNC Latino Site Features Stock Photo of Asian Children.
When you are living in a lily-white country club gated community, I guess people of color all look alike to them.
UPDATE: Greg Sargent writes Obama leapfrogs GOP DREAM Act:
This could have far-reaching implications for the presidential race, and could complicate GOP efforts to make inroads among Latinos, a crucial constituency in key states Obama needs[.]
The policy does not accomplish what the Dem DREAM Act would do — put young people who were brought here illegally on a path to citizenship — but it would effectively accomplish what Marco Rubio’s alternative was said to be geared towards accomplishing.
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Many Republicans have warned that the harsh immigration rhetoric during the GOP primary, which was echoed with particular stridency by Mitt Romney, is imperiling any hopes of making inroads among this constituency, whose share of the vote is growing and could be critical in states like Colorado and Nevada [and Arizona]. Romney has said he would veto the Dem DREAM Act — which risked further alienating Lations — and the GOP DREAM Act (which doesn’t actually exist yet in the form of legislation) was widely seen as a way to begin reparing relations with them.
The question now is whether Republicans will be able to support the new initiative at all, now that Obama has put his name on it.
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Romney had previously avoided taking a position on Rubio’s DREAM Act, presumably because of worries that supporting it would anger the right. Indeed, his lack of maneuvering room on the issue was captured by his own immigration adviser, Kris Kobach, a nationally respected voice on the right, who insisted that any initiative that grants citizenship to those who came here illegally should be a non-starter among conservatives.
But now Romney will likely be pressed to say whether he supports the new initiative, which means making a choice between the Kobach camp and the Rubio camp. The fact that this is now Obama’s iniative could make this choice even more politically complex.
Suzy Khimm at Ezra Klein's WonkBlog adds, No, Obama didn’t hand out a get-out-of-deportation-free card:
Last June, Obama’s immigration chief, John Morton, issued a memo instructing federal immigration agents, lawyers and others to make the deportation of certain classes of immigrants — particularly those who had strong ties to the United States — a lower priority. The memo instructed officials to use new criteria to decide which deportation cases to pursue and which ones to lay aside for the time being.
Such “prosecutorial discretion” is exercised on a case-by-case basis. In other words, it isn’t a get-out-of-deportation-free card, but it effectively makes the deportation of certain immigrants less likely by deferring action.
Obama’s new policy is an extension and expansion of what has been happening under Morton’s memo, essentially prioritizing a subset of immigrants who were already covered by last year’s policy shift. The 2011 memo extended potential deportation relief to a huge swath of immigrants: the elderly, caretakers of the disabled, college graduates or students, and those who’ve made “contributions to the community.” Since then, nearly 300,000 deportation cases have been reviewed using the new criteria, and about 7 percent of them — totaling more than 20,000 — were indefinitely removed from the docket.
The administration’s latest policy singles out certain members of this group for additional protection and opportunities: young college students who came to the United States illegally as children. These immigrants will have their deportation cases deferred for two years, “subject to renewal,” according to the White House memo. They, of course, are the immigrants who’ve been the poster children of the DREAM Act. Like other immigrants whose cases have been deferred, they don’t receive lawful immigration status.
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The White House’s new policy should make the use of prosecutorial discretion “more robust because of the clarity of guidance out there,” she said.
What’s more, the policy change allows young immigrants whose deportation cases have been deferred to apply for work authorization. Previously, only immigrants who were “widows and orphans” were invited to apply for such work permits, according to Giovagnoli. Now immigrant students whose deportation cases have been deferred will be offered the same opportunity.
There is no official path to citizenship, but indirectly, it could help illegal immigrants in their case for a green card.
“Deferred action is a temporary status that gives you the chance to work, go to school, etc.