The Pew Hispanic Center says President Obama’s amnesty for illegal alien young people will permit about 1.4 million illegals to stay in the country, a considerable jump from the 800,000 originally reported.
The research organization bases its claim on its estimates of the total number of illegals here, which it puts at about 11.2 million.
Obama’s declaration that he will not deport young illegals who meet a short list of criteria came on Friday after a more than a year of incremental statements and actions by the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Repeatedly, federal authorities have said they will not deport illegal aliens who do not break criminal statutes.
According to the New York Times, “Under the change, the Department of Homeland Security will no longer initiate the deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the United States before age 16, have lived here for at least five years, and are in school, are high school graduates or are military veterans in good standing. The immigrants must also be under 30 and have clean criminal records.”
Obama has, in effect, declared the failed DREAM Act law, a policy change only subordinates have openly discussed until last week. The DREAM Act, which failed to pass the U.S. Senate in December 2010, would enable illegals who were in the United States for at least five years, yet met a list of criteria, such as graduating high school, being good citizens or serving in the military, to stay here permanently.
According to Pew, “The 1.4 million estimate includes 700,000 unauthorized immigrants who are ages 18 to 30 but arrived in the U.S as children and are currently enrolled in school or have graduated from high school; and an additional 700,000 who are under the age of 18 and are enrolled in school. This includes 150,000 who are currently enrolled in high school.”
The research organization also reported that “the 1.4 million estimate represents about 12% of the 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. as of 2010, according to an estimate by the Pew Hispanic Center.”
Among the 1.4 million potential beneficiaries of the new policy, some 70% are from Mexico. For details on the numbers and characteristics of unauthorized immigrants in the United States, see the Pew Hispanic Center report “Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010.”
Hispanics Back Amnesty
“A Pew Hispanic Center survey taken late last year found that by a margin of 59% to 27%, Latinos oppose the deportation policies of the Obama Administration,” the organization reported.
Among Latinos, some 41% are aware that the number of deportations of unauthorized immigrants annually has been higher during the Obama Administration than during the George W. Bush Administration, while 36% say the two Administrations have deported the same number of unauthorized immigrants, and 10% say fewer have been deported under the Obama administration.
Pew also noted that “Latinos” support the failed the DREAM Act. “According to the same 2011 Pew Hispanic Center survey, 91% of Latinos support the DREAM Act, a proposal that would grant legal status to unauthorized immigrant children if they attend college or serve in the U.S. military for two years,” Pew reported, adding, "And 84% of Latinos favor granting in-state tuition at public colleges to unauthorized immigrants who graduated from high school in their states."
It’s Official: The DREAM Act Is Law
Obama’s ukase, however earth-shattering it seems in terms of his violating his duty to uphold federal law, is really nothing new. It came in the form of a memo from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has been pursuing the course for some time.
As The New American has repeatedly reported, Napolitano long ago declared that her department was following DREAM Act criteria with respect to deportations, and that ICE director John Morton had concocted his own list of criteria in giving ICE officers “prosecutorial discretion” in deciding whether an illegal alien would get a trip back home.
In April 2011, the Washington Times reported, Napolitano told a group gathered at a leftist roundtable that illegals who meet DREAM criteria don’t much concern ICE. “If they truly meet all those criteria, and we see very few of them actually in the immigration system, if they truly meet those [criteria], they’re not the priority,” she said. “The reason we set priorities is so that the focus could be on those in the country who are also committing other illegal acts.”
Morton echoed Napolitano’s remarks: “If you take a look at the record, people that fit within the confines of the Dream Act, there are in fact very, very few deportations of those kinds of individuals,” Morton said.
Then came Morton’s memo, which detailed a long list of criteria, some 18 reasons, ICE agents would follow in deciding who will be deported. As the Washington Post reported, Obama’s order “effectively extends an existing policy of “prosecutorial discretion,” in which immigration officials last year were instructed to prioritize the removal of felons, repeat border crossers and others considered to be security risks.”
Morton’s list of criteria was longer than that in the DREAM Act and he admitted it was “not exhaustive.” So all-encompassing is Morton’s list that it becomes almost impossible to deport an illegal.
At the time, the union representing ICE agents strongly opposed Morton’s memo. “This is just one of many new ICE policies in queue aimed at stopping the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws in the United States. Unable to pass its immigration agenda through legislation, the Administration is now implementing it through agency policy,” declared Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council.
Crane said the memo is a “law enforcement nightmare” and that agents “will never know who we can or cannot arrest.” Crane also said ICE agents were “under orders not to make arrests or even talk to foreign nationals in most cases unless another agency has already arrested them.”
Ominously, Crane warned, "Any American concerned about immigration needs to brace themselves for what’s coming.”
That August, Napolitano wrote a letter to senators that ICE will focus on deporting only “criminal” aliens. “Under the change,” the Associated Press reported, “approximately 300,000 deportation cases pending in immigration court will be reviewed case by case.”
“From a law enforcement and public safety perspective, DHS enforcement resources must continue to be focused on our highest priorities,” Napolitano wrote in the letter. “Doing otherwise hinders our public safety mission — clogging immigration court dockets and diverting DHS enforcement resources away from individuals who pose a threat to public safety.”
Then came President Obama’s decision a few weeks later to halt those 300,000 deportations.
So federal officials under Obama long ago illegally ordered subalterns to stop enforcing immigration law, his announcement being the dénouement to more than a year of public statements and preparatory action.
What is new, perhaps, is that the amnestied illegal young people may apply for work permits.
Photo: Day laborers, who identified themselves as illegal immigrants looking for work, gather around a potential employer that stopped to hire workers at a street corner where illegal immigrants gather in Dallas, May 31, 2007. : AP Images