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The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would launch a case-by-case review of illegal immigrants slated for deportation, in a move that could grant a reprieve to so-called DREAM Act beneficiaries and thousands of others.
The DREAM Act is a proposal in Congress to give illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a chance at legal status if they complete two years of college or military service. [color=limegreen]Though the bill has not passed, supporters and critics alike suggested Thursday's announcement could serve to unilaterally carry out its provisions.
... "blanket amnesty" = "enhance public safety" ? .... since when?
A spokeswoman with the Federation for American Immigration Reform described the new policy as "blanket amnesty."
But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a letter to Senate Democrats that it would "enhance public safety" by focusing deportation efforts on those "who pose a threat."
Under the plan, DHS and the Department of Justice will review all cases in removal proceedings as well as any new cases to make sure those who are deported meet the kind of criteria established in a June 17 agency memo.
... Jesus! how much will this cost?
Thursday's announcement goes beyond the memo by establishing a process to flag and exempt certain illegal immigrants from deportation. A team of attorneys and officials will be tasked with reviewing the more than 300,000 cases in the system.
... Cecilia Munoz ... I should have known!
Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, wrote on the White House blog that the review would "clear out low-priority cases on a case-by-case basis and make more room to deport people who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk" -- while ensuring the low-priority cases are kept "out of the deportation pipeline in the first place."
"This new DHS directive will help prioritize our limited enforcement resources to focus on serious felons, gang members and individuals who are a national security threat rather than college students and veterans who have risked their lives for our country," Reid said in a statement. "I am especially pleased about the impact these new policies will have on those who would benefit from the DREAM Act. ... We lose a lot by sending them back to countries they do not know."
Reid said Congress should still pass immigration reform legislation.
Napolitano also stressed in her letter that the new process "will not alleviate the need for passage of the DREAM Act or for larger reforms."
But FAIR described the announcement as a complete overhaul of immigration law without approval by Congress.
"Having failed in the legislative process, the Obama administration has simply decided to usurp Congress's constitutional authority and implement an amnesty program for millions of illegal aliens," FAIR President Dan Stein said. "This step by the White House amounts to a complete abrogation of the president's duty to enforce the laws of the land and a huge breach of the public trust. ... In essence, the administration has declared that U.S. immigration is now virtually unlimited to anyone willing to try to enter -- and only those who commit violent felonies after arrival are subject to enforcement."