The Obama Administration announced yesterday that deportation proceedings will continue, but on a “priority” basis. What exactly does that mean? Cases already in the deportation process will receive a case-by-case review looking for certain credentials which can lower a case’s deportation priority. So far, the criteria includes whether the alien is in school, has a family member in the US military, or if the alien is responsible for other family members. The Obama Administration claims the change will promote national safety by deporting convicted felons before non-dangerous aliens.
Most people who have gone through the immigration process, no matter the reason, immediately understand the system is broken. Applicants should expect long delays, uncertain relationships with reviewing officers, and unusually harsh consequences for failing to comply with any of the hundreds of small steps. Immigration legislation has been in Congress for years and cannot pass because both parties cannot agree what to include in the new laws. As a result, Pres. Obama is attempting to steer immigration by himself. Case in point, “priorities” don’t require a Congressional vote.
As expected, some Republicans are already complaining the new change circumvents the written immigration laws.
“The Obama administration should enforce immigration laws, not look for ways to ignore them,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-R). “The Obama administration should not pick and choose which laws to enforce. Administration officials should remember the oath of office they took to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land.”
I highly doubt this will be the last we hear about this issue, but like the saying goes, “slow motion is better than no motion.” A serious debate on immigration is needed so that we as a country can effectuate change. Pres. Obama has promised immigration reform for a long while, and he has finally put his money where his mouth is.