Hey, why not make sure they’re registered to vote while you’re at it?
The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.
The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.
When all else fails, be sure to divide the nation even further.
The extraordinary move comes in an election year in which the Hispanic vote could be critical in swing states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida. While Obama enjoys support from a majority of Hispanic voters, Latino enthusiasm for the president has been tempered by the slow economic recovery, his inability to win congressional support for a broad overhaul of immigration laws and by his administration’s aggressive deportation policy. Activists opposing his deportation policies last week mounted a hunger strike at an Obama campaign office in Denver, and other protests were planned for this weekend.
The change is likely to cause an outcry from congressional Republicans, who are sure to perceive Obama’s actions as an end run around them.
See what a little pressure can accomplish?
A group of undocumented immigrants has occupied President Barack Obama’s campaign office in downtown Oakland, refusing to leave until his administration stops deporting students.
“We’re going to stay here as long as we can,” said Luis Serrano, 24, speaking by cell phone Thursday evening from inside the Telegraph Avenue storefront where he and other students were staging a sit-in.
Serrano, three other illegal immigrant students and a supporter walked into the Obama for America office on Thursday afternoon pretending to be campaign volunteers.
“They said they were going to do some phone banking and donations,” said activist Krsna Avila of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, which organized the protest.
Soon after arriving, however, the students plopped down, put graduation caps on their heads and informed local campaign workers they would not leave until Obama changed his deportation policy.
“We’re asking him not to deport these students,” Avila said.
The Obama campaign has not yet sought to kick them out, and instead hired a local security firm to keep watch over the students and the office overnight. Security guards could be seen in a heated discussion with the protesters inside the building on Thursday evening.
On the front door of the office the protesters put up a sign: “Closed due to deportations.”
The sit-in is part of a national campaign to disrupt Democratic campaign offices. Protesters want an executive order from Obama halting deportations of young people brought to the country illegally when they were minors.
Seems so well orchestrated.