In a letter to Congress on Thursday, Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano argued that immigration judges "will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons," now that President Obama's immigration policy finally differentiates between devout busboys and serial rapists.
In short, Napolitano announced that while la migra can continue to serve deportation papers to harmless criminal aliens, they are disouraged from doing so. The reason why is that immigration judges will throw out these cases, an in particular, according to LA Weekly, deportation papers served against "DREAM Act students, pregnant women or those with small children, military vets, domestic-violence or human-trafficking victims, those who have lived here since they were children and those with family in the U.S. (including gay- or lesbian-bound families)." What's more, AP reported on Friday that many "illegal immigrants who were facing deportation despite having no criminal record will be allowed to stay in the country and apply for a work permit under new rules."
"While the new policy does not provide illegal immigrants with a path to permanent residency, it does allow those whose cases are indefinitely stayed to apply for a work permit."
So...as I write, it's early in D.C.-- barely 6am. Too early for bets on the day's political news in the Beltway. Nevertheless, these early reports read a lot like Obama '12 just put amnesty on the table for many, many law-abiding illegal immigrants living in the United States.
"Regardless of how they came," the president told an immigration rally earlier this year in El Paso, Texas, "the overwhelming majority of these folks are just trying to earn a living and provide for their families."
This is true. However, it is also true that the Obama White House has heretofore deported hundreds of thousands of non-dangerous illegal immigrants, separating tens of thousands families, while stranding a generation of immigrant over-achievers in a cruel political stalemate over a DREAM Act that still hasn't passed.
Now, polling increasingly shows immigration topping the issues of concern to Latino voters as we head toward Campaign 2012. That said, the difference between putting an amnesty on the table of the immigration debate and offering an amnesty to my illegal amigos remains the difference between me putting an Obama's name in my window and yard, and punching Obama's name on my Missouri ballot.
foto by Pablo Manriquez