DREAM Another Dream in Play in Immigration Reform

Sometimes it’s a good idea to not stir the pot. Obama may have missed that suggestion.

Just recently, President Obama went ahead and made the unilateral choice to change U.S. deportation policy to shield young illegal aliens. In doing so, he opened a real can of worms and one of the most contentious issues in the immigration reform arena.

The reaction was swift and not very pretty. Many demanded to know if changing the policy as he did would be worth the risks it was sure to trigger in the long run. Others wanted to know if, by changing this policy now, it would hurt the long-term prospects of immigration reform. There were a lot of miffed politicians on the Hill that day, who viewed his decision as a sneaky run around the Constitution and the authority of Congress.

Thanks to the decision, certain illegal immigrants would get a renewable two-year deportation deferral and be eligible to apply for work authorization. The policy is aimed at those who came to the county before the age of 16 but are still under 30-years-old; have lived here for five years continuously; are currently in school or have graduated high school or are active-duty military; and have not been convicted of a felony or noteworthy misdemeanor.

While this sounds good, the fact is that deportations are at an all-time high. Despite the naysayers, there has been some praise for Obama’s move, with many suggesting it is classified as a historic first and singularly humanitarian move. Others wonder if it did not have more subtle motive – garnering Latino votes. No matter how this issue is regarded, or what political party is attempting to curry favor with the voters, there is the very real question of how this bullheaded move may affect the long-stalled-in-the-trenches issue of comprehensive reform.

Put another way, some pundits suspect it won’t matter why the President did what he did or whether he will pay a price for doing it in terms of the debate on the issue in the House. What they feel is that this is just another excuse to stall immigration reform even longer. Power grab? Maybe. Short-term answer for a long-term problem? Possibly. The true test is in the pudding, and it will be informative to see what happens as a result of this policy move on Obama’s part.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit http://www.rifkinandfoxisicoff.com.

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