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Kristian Ramos

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The Problem With the GOP's Love Affair With "Backdoor Amnesty"

Posted: 09/02/11 04:10 PM ET

To their great detriment, conservative pundits are obsessed with "backdoor amnesty." I am only looking out for them when I write that the GOP love affair with this term is beginning to make some of them look mighty foolish, as it is beginning to seem as if they are willfully publicly misinterpreting President Obama's recently announced deportation guidelines to score cheap political points.

"Backdoor Amnesty," is the buzz word used by pundits to perpetuate the idea that there is a conspiracy afoot to grant undocumented immigrants citizenship outside of Congress and the federal government. The reality is, under this administration no one is receiving amnesty, citizenship or anything like it.

This simple fact has not stopped conservative pundits from leveling the charge that the President is engaging in (you guessed it) "backdoor amnesty." Which is a shame because you would think that if anyone would be happy about prioritizing the removal of felon immigrants, it would be conservatives. Under these deportation guidelines no one under any circumstances will be given a pathway to citizenship, legal status, or any type of visa.. Simply put calling these guidelines "backdoor amnesty, is factually untrue. All the administration is doing is using the powers that the Department of Homeland Security has to enforce our immigration laws to help states by prioritizing felon immigrants for immediate deportations.

The real story here should be the fact that the federal government has had to create a process to prioritize the deportation of criminal immigrants to ensure that they are actually able to keep pace with the record number of deportations being created by this administrations immigration enforcement policies.

Which is to say that despite what some may have you believe the Obama administration is taking the enforcement of our current immigration laws very seriously. Ironically the ramped up enforcement has revealed a fundamental problem with our current system. States who are in the process of deporting immigrants with felonies cannot move them through the system because there are not enough judges to process their removals. Which means that:

"The more serious offenders are still in prison," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the AP. "We're not going to see them reflected in the numbers until we can begin to remove them."

Quite simply there are not enough judges to adequately facilitate the removal of the current 300,000 undocumented immigrants scheduled for deportation.

This points to a very simple fact about our current immigration system, we cannot deport our way out of this problem. If at record levels of deportations we cannot adequately deport those 300, 000 currently in process how can we hope to deport 11.1 million people.

This brings us to the real problem with the conservative construction of a "backdoor amnesty." Both the right and the left acknowledge that the reason the administration has put forth these guidelines is because Congress has failed to act on a federal solution to our current immigration system.

Which is to say that this construction of "backdoor amnesty" is a sham designed more to win elections then find a constructive solution to the very real problems that our broken immigration system creates in our country. The conservative movement has been so focused on creating a wedge issue on immigration, trying to scare and scapegoat people who cannot defend themselves.

They have done this by continually focusing on the question of illegality which has allowed them to miss the real problem with our immigration system: it does not do a good job of moving people into and out of the country legally. We should be looking at a federal system which lets the worlds best and brightest come, learn, study and invest in our country while also giving those currently in the shadows a way to legally contribute to our society. The tragedy of the GOP's obsession with "Backdoor Amnesty" is that for all of it's sensationalistic patina, base baiting, and fear mongering, it does not address the real problems raised by our broken immigration system, and it most certainly does not provide solutions.

 

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