President Obama’s Immigration Initiative

by Reihan Salam

Though I hope to revisit this subject later on, let me share a few (somewhat repetitive) posts I’ve written in this space on the DREAM Act concept: (1) from 2010, a reaction to Michael Gerson’s support for DREAM that advances a different moral framework for thinking about the humanitarian dimension of U.S. immigration policy; (2) a post addressing other pro-DREAM arguments; (3) thoughts on the idea of authorized immigration as a fixed pie; and (4) a reply to critics.

Basically, the Obama administration is confirming my basic beliefs about its motivations, its ideological orientation, and its beliefs regarding the rule of law and the appropriate bounds of political conflict. 

A few other links that might be of interest:

Elise Foley of the Huffington Post explains the new policy in detail

Peter Wallsten and William Branigin of the Washington Post also offer a thorough account that adds useful context, e.g.:

The issue has been a major point of contention between immigration advocates and Obama. Advocates have spent months urging the president to take executive action to spare many young illegal immigrants from deportation, and until now Obama has insisted that he did not have the authority to do so.

It seems that the president has now found the authority to do so. It will be interesting to hear how his opinion on this sensitive question evolved.

And Josh Kraushaar kindly passed along a brilliant Washington Post article, also by Wallsten, that describes how the president has struggled to accommodate the demands of advocates of the DREAM Act and same-sex marriage, among other activists. It is an intelligent portrait of a president who has strong left-of-center convictions, yet who has had a difficult time reconciling them with various political and institutional imperatives. 

Part of me wonders if President Obama is preparing the groundwork for a 2016 presidential campaign in the event he is defeated in his bid for reelection. What is certainly true is that the president is continuing to burnish his post-presidential reputation. 

The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.