Just when I came to the conclusion that nothing would be done by the Obama administration as far as immigration. I get smacked in the face with welcoming news on the subject. No, the administration hasn’t granted amnesty as the usual suspects on the political right is claiming. Instead, it was announced this week that from here on out, deportations would be dealt with on an individual case-by-case basis. An unprecedented move considering that it only took 1 million deportations under the current administration to make this policy change.
Washington (CNN) — In a move that could shake up the U.S. immigration system, the Department of Homeland Security is going to begin reviewing all 300,000 pending deportation cases in federal immigration courts to determine which individuals meet specific criteria for removal and to focus on “our highest priorities.”
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said the review will enhance public safety. “Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons,” Napolitano wrote Thursday in a letter to assistant majority leader Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and 21 other senators including Indiana Republican Richard Lugar.
[…] Napolitano said the Obama administration has frequently pointed out “it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases, such as individuals… who were brought into this country as young children and know no other home.”
Officials say immigration court dockets are clogged, putting public safety in jeopardy, costing money, resources and time. They want to see DHS enforcement resources diverted from illegal immigrants who don’t have criminal records to individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security.
[…]Under the new process, a DHS and the Department of Justice working group will develop specific criteria to identify low-priority removal cases that should be considered for prosecutorial discretion, including cases with minors, the elderly, pregnant and nursing women, victims of serious crimes, veterans and members of the armed services and individuals with serious disabilities or health problems. (Source: CNN.com)
I’d say that the fact that the anti-immigrant movement is lying about this change – as they always do – signals a small victory for those hopeful for immigration reform. Mind you, there’s still a need for more work in this regard; and yes, there is still more that the president can do by executive order. But after waiting for legislation to hit the floor for the last three years, we’ll say thank you president Obama However, expect us to turn up the heat even more.