It looks like the long-awaited executive order from Obama on immigration may finally be released soon. The White House leaked the plan to the New York Times last week and it looks the changes will focus on keeping immigrant families together.
President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.
Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.
That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.
There are other changes mentioned in the story, but the big pieces of this new policy are allowing parents whose children are legal residents or citizens to stay, and extending that to the parents of those who came to the U.S. as young children but aren’t documented. What’s significant about that isn’t just that it covers millions of people, but where the focus is: keeping families together.
Obama could have gone farther and extended protection to people without children who had been here a certain length of time, but it’s no surprise that he would want to lead with changes to the immigration system that stand a strong chance of getting wide support among the public. Nobody likes to see families broken up, and if you’re looking for a sympathetic face of undocumented immigration, you can’t do much better than an American kid who is terrified that his parents will be deported.
And guess what? All those “pro-family” conservatives will suddenly turn anti-family, just as they do with families headed by gay people. Because they aren’t really pro-family at all, they’re only pro-families that look like theirs. It’s the same lie they tell about being “pro-life” while working to deny health care, food stamps and other assistance to mothers and children. Pro-fetus is not the same thing as pro-life.