There’s still a real chance that the Captain Schettinos of the House Republican brain trust will rescue Obama’s presidency by passing an amnesty. But some in the open-borders crowd are getting nervous about John Boehner’s ability to achieve Obama’s objectives.
Their fear is that this session of Congress will end with no amnesty bill on the president’s desk, or with one whose criteria they consider too draconian. Their fallback strategy? Have Obama amnesty the illegal population by administrative fiat.
Fawn Johnson at National Journal writes (emphasis added):
Immigration-reform activists aren’t supposed to talk publicly about a Plan B. They can’t, or won’t, answer questions from the media about what they will do if no bill passes this year to legalize the undocumented population. But as August wears on and there is no clear sense of what the House will do on immigration, some are starting to speak out. . . .
The idea behind the “other track” is to freeze the current undocumented population in place through an administrative order, give them work permits, and hope for a better deal under the next president, with the hope that he or she is a Democrat.
Actually, the call for an amnesty decree isn’t even all that quiet. Nelson Peacock, until recently head of congressional relations for DHS, published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times
last week arguing Obama’s threat
of an amnesty proclamation “might just be the trump card he needs to bring House Republicans to the negotiating table.”
The idea of Obama’s just decreeing amnesty has been floating around since the beginning of this administration. In 2009, I was on a radio talk show where one of the other guests brought it up, approvingly, and it was one of the options presented in a February 2010 memo drafted by Janet Napolitano’s office. But the president was always cautious, saying repeatedly that he had no authority to legalize illegal immigrants. In the president’s first years in office, his exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” in immigration policy, while illegal in its breadth, didn’t cross the line to granting work authorization and thus de facto legal status.
Then came the 2012 presidential campaign. Hispanic enthusiasm for the president was flagging and his advisers were genuinely concerned about losing the election. The administration needed, in the words of CUNY political scientist Stanley Renshon, “the immigration equivalent of astrophysics’ Big Bang Theory of the universe’s creation to reassure, energize, and consolidate his support in this electorally important ethnic group.”