25 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Is Obama Issuing an Executive Order to Legalize Undocumented Immigrants?

Republican rumors mills are abuzz with news that President Barack Obama might issue an executive order allowing 11 million non-criminal undocumented immigrants to stay in the country. The fact of the matter is, this is nothing but baloney and a move taken by staunchly conservative Senate Republicans to counter the efforts of immigration advocates trying to get deferred action for a small population of undocumented immigrants.

In a letter to the White House, eight Republican Senators — Senator Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Thad Cochran of Mississippi and David Vitter of Louisiana — demanded to know whether President Obama was contemplating any such move and derided him for even thinking about it.

President Obama does have the power to grant deferred action to millions of undocumented immigrants and put an end to deportations with one signature. Such a move would actually allow non-criminal undocumented immigrants to live and work legally in the United States. And Obama doesn’t need the approval of Congress. But the administration has literally dismissed advocates for even bringing up the issue.

In the absence of any sort of immigration relief, deferred action is a preferable type of discretionary relief granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Usually, deferred action requires an outpouring of public sympathy and political pressure for a given case. Recently, undocumented Harvard student Eric Balderas received an indefinite deferred action which that him to stay and work in the United States. However, the Department of Homeland Security has rejected the idea of a blanket deferred action for undocumented students even after a written request from Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Lugar (R-IN).

With his approval rating at an all-time low of 45%, President Obama is unlikely to take any steps that could fuel more white conservative rage, especially before the mid-term elections.

Photo Credit: transplanted mountaineer

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