Did law-abiding President Barack Obama make an end run around Congress when his administration announced the halt of deportation proceedings of people who are in our country illegally? Did the Obama administration make this immigration decision for political reasons or for the good of the nation? Did Obama find a way to ignore his previous comments when he said that he must obey the laws as written by Congress and that he does not have broad authority to halt deportation?
Apparently, the immigration rights groups have put so much pressure on the administration that the Department of Homeland Security changed its policies. DHS announced on Thursday, August 18, 2011, that it will halt immigration proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal aliens without criminal records who meet certain criteria - attending school, having primary responsibility to provide for other family members, or having a family member serving in the military.
The DHS established the "Secure Communities" program in 2008 that called for police to submit suspects' fingerprints to DHS in order for them to be cross-checked with federal deportation orders. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano sent letter to Congress last Thursday claiming that she has discretion to focus on "priority cases" and that both DHS and the Justice Department will review all cases currently being processed to determine who meets the new criteria. As I understand it, the new rule applies to those who have already been apprehended and are currently in deportation proceedings but who have not been officially ordered out of the country by a judge. The new rules may affect nearly 300,000 people.
The new move was praised by Hispanic activists and Democrats who have pushed Obama to act on this matter. The administration needs the Hispanic vote to prop up Obama's falling numbers of supporters. Hispanic voters are a key bloc for the re-election of Obama, and they have been disappointed by Obama's failure to keep his 2008 election promises. The new rules are already paying dividends for Democrats because advocacy groups for Hispanics are praising the new policy.
The new immigration rules make an end run around Congress where the battle to establish comprehensive immigration reform is stalled. Republicans want stronger enforcement of current laws as well as a program that would allow workers to come into our country to work but eventually return to their home countries. Democrats want legislation to legalize approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants who are now in the country; they also want a guest-worker program that would lead to citizenship.
More than 1 million illegal aliens have been deported since 2007 when this issue stalled in the Senate. A record number of undocumented immigrants - 392,000 - were deported in fiscal year 2010. Democrats claim that the system is broken and that illegal immigrants are receiving unfair treatment. They also claim that deportations are causing families to break up.
Representatives Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Candice Miller (R-MI), chairwoman of the Homeland Security subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security released the following news item: "This new non-enforcement policy announced by the Obama Administration Thursday is a blatant attempt to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal aliens in this country."
I believe that the Obama Administration did make an end run around Congress. Because Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on comprehensive immigration reform, Obama decided to do things his way. I believe that the new rules were put in place for political purposes because Obama needs the Hispanic vote in order to win re-election in 2012. I believe that Obama was claiming the need to obey the law of the land only until he could get away with changing the policies. I believe that the only way we can stop Obama and his liberal/progressive cohorts is to get him out of office as quickly as possible. The election in 2012 cannot come too soon!