Illegal immigrants want President Obama to pardon some 750,000 so-called “Dreamers.” They say Obama pardons are their last, best hope to avoid what they fear will be a wave of deportations once President-elect Donald Trump takes office. According to the Washington Times, they will make their “request” by having a “rally” in New York on Wednesday:
“Millions of law abiding undocumented immigrants are fearful of what will happen when the new Administration takes control in January,” the group of New York state lawmakers and immigration advocates said in a statement announcing the rally. “However, President Obama has the power of pardons that he can use to protect all DACA enrollees.”
As we have reported here and here, a crackdown on illegal immigration is one of the top priorities of the incoming Trump administration. Trump’s Contract With the American Voter — his plan for the first hundred days of his presidency — includes canceling every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.
That includes ending Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the 2012 program that has protected from deportation 750,000 young people brought to the U.S. illegally. As well as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), sometimes called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability. DAPA would grant deferred action status to four million illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 and have children who are either American citizens or lawful permanent residents, but it has been blocked by the courts.
The times reports the illegals’ “request” for pardons puts Obama in a bind because “he has expressed an interest in helping illegal immigrants but also has acknowledged limits on power.” Unlike Obama’s extra-legal DACA and DAPA “executive actions,” Obama clearly has the Constitutional authority to issue pardons. Advocates want assurance from Mr. Obama in the form of a pardon. They point to the mass pardons of Confederate soldiers in the Civil War and draft evaders during the Vietnam War, as precedents.
Obama, during Monday’s press conference, ducked a question about what steps he might take and instead urged Trump to “think long and hard” before canceling the DACA program:
OBAMA: OK. Last question is Justin Sink at Bloomberg.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to ask about two things that might be on your desk over the next couple of months as you prepare for a Trump administration.
One is at least three quarters of a million undocumented immigrants provided the federal government information about themselves and their family as part of your deferred action program.
I wonder if there is anything you can do to reassure them or shield that information for the incoming Trump administration considering his stance on immigration.
[. . .]
OBAMA: Those are both excellent questions.
On the deferred action program that we have known as DACA that relates to Dreamers who are currently benefiting from these provisions, I will urge the president-elect and the incoming administration to think long and hard before they are endangering the status of what for all practical purposes are American kids.
I mean, these are kids who were brought here by their parents. They did nothing wrong. They have gone to school. They have pledged allegiance to the flag. Some of them joined the military. They’ve enrolled in school. By definition, if they are part of this program, they are solid, wonderful young people of good character. And it is my strong belief that the majority of the American people would not want to see suddenly those kids have to start hiding again. And that’s something that I will encourage the president-elect to look at.
[. . .]
All right. Thank you, everybody.
Shame on the parents of those kids, who put them in this terrible position by entering the U.S. illegally.