07 August, 2014

Anatomy of a Power Grab - NYTimes.com

Anatomy of a Power Grab - NYTimes.com: No, it’s more than that. Immigrants affected by the policy wouldn’t just know that the United States isn’t going to move heaven and earth to deport them — something that’s already true in most cases, which is why Eric Posner, writing in the New Republic, feels comfortable casting the move under consideration as just the formal acknowledgment of “current practice.” (He also feels comfortable because he’s an explicit presidential caesarist, something liberals inclined to invoke his arguments might want to keep in mind.) But he’s wrong: Current practice may includes at best a modest risk of deportation for individuals here illegally, but it does entail some risk, both for the immigrants themselves and for employers who hire them, because the laws are on the books and at least partially enforced. Whereas Obama’s proposal would make that risk go away, by formally changing the status of the people affected: They would become lawful residents, with work permits and Social Security numbers. The White House would grant them, in other words, roughly the kind of provisional status that’s been a sticking point throughout the Senate and House debates on this issue. Obama wouldn’t just be sparing illegal immigrants deportations or exercising prosecutorial discretion in who gets deported; he would be legalizing them.