Although the U.S. has a long history of granting amnesty to immigrants around Independence Day, but amnesty has now become a contentious political issue. And two Republican lawmakers are asking for investigations into President Obama’s deferred action for young illegal immigrants, alleging fraud and “improper use of prosecutorial discretion.”
Rep. Lamar Smith (R.-TX) and Rep. Lou Barletta (R.-PA) have both asked for investigations into the immigration directive. Rep. Smith says he has learned that some deportations have been halted for ineligible immigrants. He also obtained documents which encourage ICE agents to pursue immigrants who are “apparently eligible” to have their deportation cases dropped.
In a letter sent to ICE, Smith said, “President Obama is granting amnesty to immigrant behind Americans’ back. Although the administration said it would take 60 days to implement the President’s amnesty plan, internal ICE documents show that illegal immigrants have already benefitted from it, even though there are no standards in place.”
Under the deferred action directive, illegal immigrants under that age of thirty who have been in the country for at least five years and attend school or enter the military are allowed to apply for work visas. Despite the rhetoric, work visas are not amnesty, but they are the first step to naturalization. And as immigration attorneys can affirm, citizenship or amnesty is not easily obtained and can take years to accomplish.
In response to Smith’s allegations, ICE spokeswoman, Gillian Christiansen stated that the directive was always intended to apply to immigrants already in the deportation process.
For those already in the deportation process it may be necessary for them to hire an immigration attorney to allow them to stay in the country.
The fact that some many people try to enter the country either illegally, or legally with the help of an immigration lawyer, points to the greatness of our country. And while immigration has its pitfalls, we are a better nation because of our diversity.