In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places. So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history -- today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years. We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education. And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent. We've improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully. Well, today, we're improving it again.
Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people. Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.
Now, let's be clear -- this is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young peopleRep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) responded:
The decision is not just a breach of faith with the American people. It blatantly ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy.
In an interview with Univision television earlier this year, President Obama said that he can’t just “waive away the laws that Congress put in place” and that “the president doesn’t have the authority to simply ignore Congress and say, ‘We’re not going to enforce the laws that you’ve passed.’”
But ignore Congress and the Constitution is exactly what the president has done – and this isn’t the first time. Throughout the past three years of his administration, Mr. Obama has waived applying several of our immigration rules and has refused to enforce other immigration laws.
Earlier this year, administration officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) outlined their plan to ignore a rule that requires illegal immigrants to leave the US before they can then ask the federal government to waive a law that bans them from legally returning here for several years.
While the waiver of this rule is sometimes allowed under current law, it is only applied on a case-by-case basis, not to entire categories of illegal immigrants. But Obama and his administration have bent these established rules by applying them to potentially millions of illegal immigrants.