The Corner

House Liberals to Obama: Legalize Basically Everyone by Fiat, Please

According to Politico, the liberal wing of the House Democratic caucus has sent a memo to the president outlining what they would like his planned executive action on immigration to look like, and it’s . . . broad. The categories of people they want to receive deferred action, meaning work authorization and essentially immunity from deportation:

1. Individuals eligible for relief under S.744 [the Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill];

2. Parents, siblings, and spouses of citizens, lawful permanent resident (LPR) holders, and individuals eligible for DACA [last year’s DREAM Act by fiat];

3. Individuals who have resided in the country for three or more years;

4. Individuals who are “regularly employed,” including agricultural and seasonal workers;

5. Individuals that entered the country after the age of 18 but satisfy the DACA educational requirement.

In other words, an incredibly wide swath of illegal immigrants. Cutting Christmas trees in North Carolina right now? You’re good. Came here in 2010? You’re fine.

And then that is complemented by a new, incredibly wide version of the existing DREAM Act-by-fiat (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals/DACA): ​They would like to end the program’s education/military-service requirements, extend deferred prosecution and work authorization from two years to four, raise the age-of-illegal-entry required from 16 to 18, and eliminate all consideration of current age (if you came here when you were 15 in 1970, you’re good).

It’s obviously abandoning any pretense that this is about prioritizing enforcement: It’s saying that ordinary illegal aliens here should be legal, and that only those who have violated our laws in a much more serious way — they’re felons, for instance — shouldn’t enjoy the promise of legal residency. That isn’t entirely surprising, of course, as that is the view held certainly by the left wing of the Democratic caucus, which the House Progressive Caucus, the authors of the memo, represent.

What’s a little odd is that the Migration Policy Institute, a pro-amnesty think tank, estimates that the widening of the DREAM Act and the other deferred-action categories would only protect only 7 million illegal aliens — add that to the 1 million or so already eligible for DACA, and I’m not really sure who the remaining 3 million illegal aliens are. In any case, the proposals set forth by the Progressive Caucus are similar to what a range of other pro-amnesty groups have mooted at other times, and are about double the size of what the White House has suggested it might try.

It’s an ambitious ask — but then again, when congressmen are asking the president to usurp powers explicitly entrusted to them by the Constitution, you can’t be surprised they go big.

Patrick BrennanPatrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...

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