In a blog post for the Washington Post's opinion section, Adam Serwer of the American Prospect applauds the Obama administration's decision to forestall the deportation of nonthreatening undocumented immigrants.
Yesterday's decision by the Obama administration to forestall the deportations of undocumented immigrants who don’t pose a threat [to] public safety is a huge, huge deal. Not just for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who won’t be ripped away from their homes and families, but because it stands as a good example of the White House responding constructively to criticism from the left — and doing the right thing in political and policy terms as a result.
"I was pleasantly surprised by the boldness and breadth of Administration’s move," Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the pro-immigration reform group America's Voice, told me. The plan includes reviewing the deportation proceedings of 300,000 people already in the system, and allowing those who don't have criminal records to stay.
Since taking office, the Obama administration has implemented a far more aggressive immigration enforcement policy than the Bush administration — deporting close to 400,000 people a year. The idea was that aggressive enforcement would clear the way for comprehensive immigration reform, a plan that didn’t take the total opposition of the Republican Party into account. Despite the administration's stated focus on deporting undocumented immigrants who pose a threat to public safety, the vast majority of those deported were convicted of minor offenses and many had no criminal record.
Read Adam Serwer's entire blog entry at the Washington Post.