Thursday, November 20, 2014

Young Immigrants' Amnesty May Not Extend to Parents

Oh, the perilous path of Democrat Party identity politics.

At the New York Times, "Deportation Reprieve May Not Include Parents of Young Immigrants":
WASHINGTON — Every time Berzabeth Valdez heads out to work from her mobile home on the outskirts of Houston, it crosses her mind that she might not come back.

Ms. Valdez, 48, is a Mexican immigrant who has been living in Texas for 11 years without legal papers, and so without a driver’s license. For her commute to her job as a restaurant manager, she keeps her taillights in working order and never speeds.

“We are terrified of the police,” Ms. Valdez said. “One traffic ticket could end in deportation. I could lose my whole life, everything I have gained for my family.”

One of Ms. Valdez’s daughters grew tired of living with those fears and joined an organization of young undocumented immigrants. The youths, who call themselves Dreamers, won protection from deportation from President Obama in 2012 and continued to press him to extend those measures to others here illegally.

​On Thursday, ​Mr. Obama ​will announce changes to the immigration enforcement system that ​will allow as many as five million immigrants to remain and work legally. But ​the youths ​will face a bittersweet ending, ​because White House officials have decided to leave out their parents, according to advocates familiar with the plans.

“It’s getting so hard to call my mom,” said María Fernanda Cabello, 23, Ms. Valdez’s activist daughter. “I’ve had to tell her, ‘There is a victory coming, and I don’t know if you’re part of it.’ ”

​Mr. Obama ​​will grant ​deportation reprieves to undocumented parents whose children are American citizens and legal permanent residents​ ​if they have lived in the country for five years​​ and have not committed serious crimes, administration officials said. ​Officials say the president can exercise prosecutorial discretion to avoid breaking up families of children entitled to be in the country and to steer enforcement agents toward deporting criminals and foreigners who pose national security threats. ​

But ​some​ senior​ ​administration ​officials have argued that it would be more difficult both legally and politically to make the case for including parents of immigrants in the existing program for young people who came when they were children, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Since that program is based on executive action by Mr. Obama, the youths have deportation deferrals and work permits but no green cards or any other visa or formal immigration status, which only Congress can confer. Their parents’ claim for relief is weaker, the officials said.

The president is facing angry opposition from Republicans to his new initiatives. Calling Mr. Obama’s plans “executive amnesty,” Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, an outspoken adversary, accused him of seizing sole power to decide who can live and work in the United States. “Surrendering to illegality is not an option,” Mr. Sessions said.

Republicans are considering different ways to stop funding for the president’s new measures and for the existing DACA program.

Even after receiving their own reprieves, the youths played a large role in bringing a reluctant president to take more sweeping action unilaterally. They mobilized law professors to build Mr. Obama’s legal case. Early this year, when the president was urging activists to pressure Republicans in the House to take up an immigration bill passed by the Senate, young immigrants decided there was little chance the House would act. Instead, they dogged Mr. Obama, interrupting his speeches and staging street sit-ins at his events.

The hints that their parents could be excluded by the White House have stunned many youths.

“It’s really hard to process when we’ve been pushing so hard for this,” said Ms. Cabello, an organizer in Texas for United We Dream, a national network of youth groups. “I cry every time I think about it.”

The White House ​will ​expand the current DACA program by eliminating the age cap for eligibility, which now excludes those over 30, or adjusting other requirements, measures youth leaders said they would welcome.

According to estimates by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, about 3.3 million undocumented parents have children who are citizens or legal residents and have been living here for at least five years. Many families have some children born in other countries and some who are citizens born in the United States, and the number of eligible immigrants would increase only to 3.4 million if the parents of youths in the DACA program were included.

But for young people in families with no American-born children, it is bitterly frustrating that they have to continue to worry whenever their parents go out the door.

In October, Ms. Valdez recalled, her car was rammed in a rear fender while she was stopped at a red light. An apologetic American driver explained that she was wearing a new pair of high heels and had been unable to press the brake in time.

“Let’s just forget about it,” Ms. Valdez said, eyeing her crumpled fender, and she left to avoid calling the police...
PREVIOUSLY: "Forty-Eight Percent Oppose Obama's Executive Amnesty for Illegal Aliens," and "Barack Broke That — Democrats Now in Worse Shape Than Before Obama Took Office!"