Obama to Stop Deporting Young Immigrants With Clean Records

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I guess I’m surprised that President Obama has the power to do this via executive order, but apparently he’s decided to partially implement the goals of the DREAM Act without asking for congressional approval:

Under the new plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. The officials who described the plan spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it in advance of the official announcement.

The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods.

Good for him. Sure, this is election-year positioning, but sometimes good policy is good politics. And not only will this be good for Obama’s electoral chances directly, but it presents Republicans with an excruciating dilemma: either lay low and piss off their base, or follow their usual anti-Obama playbook and unleash a blizzard of criticism that will torpedo their efforts to attract Latino voters for years to come. The smart move would be the former, and I imagine folks like Karl Rove will be pleading with leading conservatives to take a low-key approach to this. But my money is on the latter. The tea party folks will not be assuaged with a few ritual condemnations. They’ll want blood. And they’ll probably get it.

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