Obama administration officials announced on Friday that they will propose a fix to a notorious snag in immigration law that will spare hundreds of thousands of American citizens from prolonged separations from immigrant spouses and children.
Illegal immigrants who are married to or are children of American citizens are generally allowed under the law to become legal residents with a visa known as a green card. But the law requires most immigrants who are here illegally to return to their home countries in order to receive their legal visas [and wait for three to ten years]...
...Now, Citizenship and Immigration Services proposes to allow the immigrants to obtain a provisional waiver in the United States, before they leave for their countries to pick up their visas. Having the waiver in hand will allow them to depart knowing that they will almost certainly be able to return, officials said. The agency is also seeking to sharply streamline the process to cut down the wait times for visas to a few weeks at most.
1. In case there's someone to whom it isn't incredibly obvious, Obama is doing this to buy votes. Some of the illegal aliens who'll benefit from the changed rule will vote for him, but the bigger number will probably be of their U.S. citizen relatives. If those who'd benefit from this were mostly Republicans, would Obama have changed the rule?
2. The former rule was put into place to discourage illegal immigration. There's a reason for the long wait times: to make people think twice about coming here illegally. Obama's new rule will encourage illegal immigration. Those benefiting from the new rule will tell their friends about it, and they'll know there's yet another loophole they can take advantage of and that there's even less of a penalty for illegal immigration than there was before. If you're an Obama supporter, answer this question honestly: will this new rule increase or decrease illegal immigration?
3. It goes without saying that the article by Julia Preston of the New York Times reads more like an advocacy piece than a news report. She refers to rules enacted by Congress as a "notorious snag" and a "Catch-22", and everything in her report presents the new rule in the best light possible and from the perspective of those who would break our immigration laws.
"President Obama and his administration are bending long established rules to put illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of American citizens and legal immigrants. This proposal from the Obama administration comes with no surprise considering their abuse of administrative powers. President Obama has already granted backdoor amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants without a vote of Congress.
"It seems President Obama plays by his own rules to push unpopular policies on the American people. Congress has defeated amnesty attempts several times in recent years. And according to a recent poll, two-thirds of Americans want to see immigration laws enforced, not ignored. Who is the President batting for—illegal immigrants or the American people?”
Congress instituted the three and 10 year bars in 1996 to provide a penalty for immigrants who had been illegally present in the U.S. for long periods of time. While the waiver of these bars is legal under current law, it is not intended to be applied to millions of illegal immigrants."
If Preston were a real reporter and not just a loose borders hack, she would have sought comment from him or from other opponents of the new rule.
5. Note that Obama's supposed opponents in the Tea Parties and similar had absolutely no impact in this matter. If they had applied pressure to Obama and his supporters over immigration, there's a chance that he wouldn't have initiated this rule change. See the last link, Will teaparty and rightwing bloggers stumble us into amnesty?, and note that the Teapartiers and rightwing bloggers have mostly ignored recent attempts at amnesty. If you're a Teaparty supporter and you oppose illegal immigration, ask yourself why the Teapartiers and rightwing bloggers have been in general mostly silent on illegal immigration.
6. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has a FAQ (PDF): http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=38116
UPDATE: Luis Gutierrez is declaring victory (contacto-latino.com/news/3025546/
"I am happy and excited that the President is taking this step," Rep. Gutierrez said. "On the immigration administrative fixes I have been fighting for, the President spent the last year saying 'no I can't' and now he is saying 'yes we can' and the community will get the message. This is movement in a positive direction that will not fix broader issues of immigration, but for a certain number of families caught in a bureaucratic nightmare, this is the common sense solutions I have been urging."
"I am glad that the President is adopting some of the Gutierrez plan to keep families together and make sure that our laws are not unnecessary barriers to legal status and immigration," the Congressman said. "When this processing procedure is implemented, some of the families I have been talking to around the country will have an option available to them that gets them in the system and protected from deportation."
Also, the new rule is at ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-00140_PI.pdf. Note that it's signed by Janet Napolitano.
Fri, 01/06/2012 - 12:31 · Importance: 5