New DHS Rules Cancel Deportations of Illegal Immigrants

Obama to deport illegals by ‘priority’
Case-by-case plan will curb numbers

Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times

Bowing to pressure from immigrant rights activists, the Obama administration said Thursday that it will halt deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, such as attending school, having family in the military or having primary responsible for other family members’ care.

The move marks a major step for President Obama, who for months has said he does not have broad categorical authority to halt deportations and said he must follow the laws as Congress has written them.

But in letters to Congress on Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she does have discretion to focus on “priorities” and that her department and the Justice Department will review all ongoing cases to see who meets the new criteria.

“This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety,” she said. “Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.”

The move won immediate praise from Hispanic activists and Democrats who had strenuously argued with the administration that it did have authority to take these actions, and said as long as Congress is deadlocked on the issue, it was up to Mr. Obama to act.

“Today’s announcement shows that this president is willing to put muscle behind his words and to use his power to intervene when the lives of good people are being ruined by bad laws,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, who has taken a leadership role on the issue since the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 2009.

The article continues at The Washington Times.

Update: From the Los Angeles Times:

…This “clearly demonstrates the Obama administration’s defiance of both the constitutional separation of powers and the will of the American public,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Immigration experts said the move reflects Obama’s attempt to push his immigration policy forward at a time when the Congress has rebuffed the Dream Act and other immigration initiatives his administration has sought.

Jon Feere, a legal analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, which has sought tougher restrictions on immigration, said this was “an effort by President Obama to appeal to some Latino voters, but the overwhelming majority of Americans want strong enforcement.”…

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