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Friday, July 30, 2010

Immigration Policy Memo

ABC News reports:

Critics of President Obama's immigration policy have pounced on an internal government memo they say shows the administration is trying to circumvent Congress on immigration reform and avoid deporting some illegal immigrants.

An undated, internal draft memo by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services leaked Thursday outlines "administrative relief options to… reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization."

"In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform," it reads, "USCIS can extend benefits and/or protections to many individuals and groups by issuing new guidance and regulations."

The memo describes possible steps the agency could take to address the situation of the country's estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants, including granting some groups conditional legal residency.

One of the most controversial proposals in the document involves immigration courts showing greater leniency in some deportation cases by "deferring action"– possibly indefinitely.

This story touches on several items that we discuss in the book:

  • Citizenship and the status of undocumented aliens;
  • The oversight role of Congress;
  • The importance of administrative action.

The story also involves deliberation:

U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services press secretary Christopher Bentley responded to the accusations saying, "nobody should mistake deliberation and exchange of ideas for final decisions. To be clear, the Department of Homeland Security will not grant deferred action or humanitarian parole to the nation's entire illegal immigrant population."

"Internal memoranda help us do the thinking that leads to important changes; some of them are adopted and others are rejected. Our goal is to implement policies wisely and well to strengthen all aspects of our mission," he said

For more, see a news story posted by Senator Charles Grassley: