The Federal government is relaxing enforcement of immigration laws against illegal immigrants who have been in the United States for a substantial period of time. The Washington Post reports:
In recent months, the Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to ensure that the majority of the United States’ 11.3 million undocumented immigrants can stay in this country, with agents narrowing enforcement efforts to three groups of illegal migrants: convicted criminals, terrorism threats or those who recently crossed the border.
The new policy represents an escalation of the unilateral approach to immigration the Obama Administration has taken since comprehensive reform stalled in Congress last year. In November, Obama took the unprecedented step of issuing an executive order granting temporary legal status to about five million unauthorized workers. The new DHS policy is a less dramatic, but still significant, effort to move U.S. immigration policy leftward in the face of Congressional resistance. Obama has said that legislative gridlock forced him to act unilaterally on immigration; many Republicans are sure to pounce on this move as yet another dangerous power-grab by the executive. These Republicans can take comfort in the fact that, unlike Obama’s executive amnesty from last year, this change in enforcement policy will be relatively easy for a future administration to reverse.