President Obama explained his decision to selectively stop deporting certain illegal* immigrants, specifically, those under thirty who came into the country illegally before their 16th birthday, have no criminal record, and earned a high school diploma, saying “we are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids” and calling beneficiaries of his exemption “talented, driven and patriotic young people” before being interrupted by a heckler. “Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act,” the president helpfully noted, pitching the DREAM Act and wider immigration reform once again.
It’s hard to read this as anything but pandering; Latino leaders in the Democratic Party have been warning that for immigrant communities being hurt by mass deportations the president’s failure on immigration reform resonates the most.
Despite the president’s protestations of politics getting in the way of the process on immigration policy, the phenomenon is old hat. President Bush’s efforts to reform immigration were likewise stymied, not just by members of his own party but by Democrats too. Barack Obama ought to remember that, he was there. Since taking office in 2009, the president has made nary a move towards immigration reform, spending most of his domestic capital pushing through a deeply unpopular government healthcare reform scheme by the skin of its teeth that the Supreme Court may go ahead and overturn anyway.
Promising to take questions, the president ended up only responding to the heckler reporter who (says he mistakenly) interrupted.
Mike Riggs pointed out earlier the president’s decision is something he could do in the drug war, even though he says he can’t. Maybe pardons for those under 30?
Illegal immigrants who have been here since they were kids but turned 30 waiting for the president to act on immigration reform, alas, will have to keep waiting, more victims of this president’s deference to ad hoc governance over the rule of law. So much for “fairness”.
*Illegal entry into the United States is a misdemeanor.
More Reason on illegal immigrants.
Update: Pandering link courtesy commenter Sevo.