FLOATING AN IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL – AT 4:03 A.M. ET: Apparently the administration has some new ideas on immigration, but they involve an end run around congressional action. I get the feeling this is a trial balloon:
With Congress gridlocked on an immigration bill, the Obama administration is considering using a back door to stop deporting many illegal immigrants - what a draft government memo said could be "a non-legislative version of amnesty."
The memo, addressed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas and written by four agency staffers, lists tools it says the administration has to "reduce the threat of removal" for many illegal immigrants who have run afoul of immigration authorities.
"In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, USCIS can extend benefits and/or protections to many individuals and groups by issuing new guidance and regulations, exercising discretion with regard to parole-in-place, deferred action and the issuance of Notices to Appear," the staffers wrote in the memo, which was obtained by Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican.
The memo suggests that in-depth discussions have occurred on how to keep many illegal immigrants in the country, which would be at least a temporary alternative to the proposals Democrats in Congress have made to legalize illegal immigrants.
Chris Bentley, a USCIS spokesman, said drafting the memo doesn't mean the agency has embraced the policy and "nobody should mistake deliberation and exchange of ideas for final decisions."
COMMENT: I don't think that some administrative proposal that looks like amnesty will get by the American people. I suspect there'd be a terrible backlash, in part because the whole mechanism looks sleazy and political.
July 30, 2010