The Obama administration plans to circumvent a court order blocking key parts of the president’s controversial executive action on immigration last November, according to a newly leaked document.
The move would be awkward for some Republican presidential candidates, like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who are trying to distance themselves from the president’s amnesty policies while maintaining their appeal among Latino voters. He and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will try to appease conservatives by running against the move, but their pro-amnesty records and statements will likely cause the strategy to backfire.
Meantime, this would benefit immigration hardliners like Donald Trump, who would be able to use Obama’s subterfuge to amp up “guilt by association” attacks on the immigration reform crowd.
The provisions under contention — known as “DAPA” and “DACA” — are parts of Obama executive orders that would grant temporary status to undocumented parents with American children and to undocumented children who entered the country before they turned 16. The policies were blocked from going into effect last February when a Texas judge issued an injunction at the behest of 26 states that filed a lawsuit in opposition.
Trump would be well positioned to leverage this gift from heaven as a bludgeon against the likes of Rubio and Bush as they attempt to straddle the fence on deferred amnesty programs in order to win the Hispanic electorate. It could also be used as a means for him to attack the broader Republican Establishment — led by former House Speaker John Boehner — for its failed attempts to challenge the president’s actions earlier this year.
Rubio, who is seeing his stock soar after a strong performance in last week’s GOP debate, would find himself in the biggest predicament.
In April, he told the Spanish-language television network Univision that he supported deferred action for so-called DREAMers — undocumented youth in the U.S. — as part of a broader fix to the immigration system, though he noted that DACA could never continue as permanent policy.
“I believe DACA is important,” Rubio told Univision host Jorge Ramos. “It can’t be terminated from one moment to the next, because there are already people benefiting from it.”
Rubio will now have to either backtrack his support for the program, potentially alienating his Latino support, or be associated with the Obama administration’s implementation of the it, which has by any stretch constituted a reckless and belligerent power grab and disregard for the constitutional process.
The document, prepared last summer by the Department of Homeland Security, kicks the judicial review of DAPA and DACA to the curb. Instead, it outlines several schemes the administration could adopt to defy the court injunction and issue work permits to individuals covered under the provisions — including illegal aliens, people who have overstayed visas, and H1-B guest workers.
The plans signal a continuation of Obama’s sceme to rework the country’s demographic fabric via the immigration system, as well as the Republicans’ ineptitude in obstructing him from doing so, and their difficulties in coalescing around a single-policy approach on the issue of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
One of the proposals under consideration “basically entails giving (work permits) to anyone physically present in the country who until now has been prohibited from getting one,” Ian M. Smith, of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, wrote in The Hill newspaper.
Obama has cited making the U.S. immigration system more efficient, fair and just for those residing here illegally and those looking to enter the country as his inspiration for revamping what he says is a broken and dysfunctional bureaucracy.
Critics see Obama’s heavy-handed approach to immigration policy as a primary vehicle for fundamentally transforming the country’s cultural fabric and voting demographics. An expanded Latino voting bloc, now thrown a bone in the form of Obama’s amnesty programs, would bolster the Democratic coalition of minorities, women and millennials.
“The memo foreshadows more tactical offensives in a giant administrative amnesty for all 12 million illegal aliens who’ve broken our immigration laws that will emerge before the next inaugural in January 2016,” Smith said.