Some might view as a cynical bid for Hispanic votes the Obama Administration’s new policy to review as many as 300,000 illegal immigration cases to focus more on deporting criminals than undocumented individuals posing little to no risk to society, says NPR. The decision would use some of the criteria of the DREAM Act, which Congress failed to pass, to show leniency to young people, especially students and military veterans brought illegally to the U.S. as small children by their undocumented immigrant parents.
The administration framed its decision as a way to target its immigration resources on the highest priority cases, those illegal immigrants whose criminality represents a true threat to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are being given significantly more latitude to exercise their discretion under the new rules. The decision will be welcomed by immigrant advocates and the communities they represent, who have pleaded with the administration to show compassion. Still, there’s a risk to President Obama that it gives his conservative opposition yet another issue to energize their voters around. It’s already being called a “backdoor” or “de facto amnesty” by some critics.