GOP Senators Question President On Illegal Immigrants

Eight GOP Senators have written to President Obama seeking assurance that the White House will not take executive action to “unilaterally extend either deferred action or parole to millions of illegal aliens in the United States,” in response to – perhaps in hopes of spreading – rumors that the President might extend some kind of temporary amnesty to illegal aliens, in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform this year. (See the Letter to President Obama, link in Senators Question Possible Administration Plans to Defer Action on Millions of Illegal Aliens, Press Release from Senator Charles Grassley, 21.Jun.2010.) The letter was signed by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and five others.

In a written statement, Senator Grassley preemptively accused the President of possibly planning to plan “an amnesty in disguise … simply an attempt to circumvent Congress.” The language of the GOP letter is vague, but specific enough to give it some ring of credibility. Senator Grassley and his colleagues wrote:

“We understand that there’s a push for your Administration to develop a plan to unilaterally extend either deferred action or parole to millions of illegal aliens in the United States. We understand that the Administration may include aliens who have willfully overstayed their visas for filed for benefits knowing that they will not be eligible for a status for years to come. We understand that deferred action and parole are discretionary actions reserved for individual cases that present unusual, emergent or humanitarian circumstances. Deferred action and parole were not intended to be used to confer a status or offer protection to large groups of illegal aliens, even if the agency claims that they look at each case on a ‘case-by-case’ basis.”

It remains to be seen whether the Obama White House will dignify this rumor with a response. Odds are against it, unless the White House plans to announce precisely such a change, and justify it carefully. Meanwhile, Senator Grassley and his colleagues have scored a public relations “twofer,” allowing them to look engaged on the issue of immigration – despite their having stonewalled virtually all reform attempts – while firing a warning shot to protect against a policy “threat” that might never materialize, indeed, might never have existed. If it doesn’t materialize, they are certain to claim some of the credit.

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