House Dems are pushing hard for Obama to pardon about 750,000 young illegal immigrants. These people are temporarily shielded from deportation because of Obama’s 2012 executive order. Do you think this will happen?
By Laura Litvan
“By no fault of their own, these Americans are prisoners in their own country, living their daily lives, not knowing if they will be deported to another country,” Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, a California Democrat, said at a news conference. She and a group of other lawmakers active on immigration policy sent a letter to Obama with their request Thursday.
But a White House official dismissed the idea late Thursday, saying that the president’s clemency power cannot confer legal status upon an undocumented immigrant and that only Congress can do so.
The immigrants, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers,” provided information including fingerprints and relatives’ home addresses when they applied for protection under the president’s 2012 executive order, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. They received renewable, two-year work permits and Social Security cards as part of the program. Democrats are concerned that information could be used to facilitate deportations in the next administration.
Trump campaigned on an agenda that included building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. He softened his rhetoric in a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday, saying he would focus first on illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, who he said are “gang members, drug dealers” and number as many as 3 million.
Many lawmakers in both parties have expressed concern about Trump’s proposals and rhetoric on immigration. A number of Republicans in both chambers have said this week they are particularly concerned about how he will address the needs of the younger immigrants covered by Obama’s 2012 action.
‘Forced Upon Us’
Republican Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are among those who this week said Congress will likely need to take some action to address their status, particularly as those two-year permits begin to expire.
“There will be people timed out of it, so the issue will be forced upon us before long,” Flake said.