Why Is Charles Krauthammer Enraged Over President Obama’s Deferred Action Policy?

Originally posted on Huffington Post

What is it about President Obama’s decision to grant a temporary reprieve from deportation to deserving undocumented youth that has put conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer in a tizzy?

Over the past month he has repeatedly railed against Mr. Obama, claiming he has engaged in “naked lawlessness” as part of an “imperial presidency.”

But his anger has eclipsed the facts.

For example, last month in Arizona v. U.S. the Supreme Court eviscerated Arizona’s racially charged immigration law but declined to strike down the provision requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone they lawfully stop and suspect is unlawfully in the U.S. The decision was not, as Krauthammer claims, a unanimous “smackdown” to the Administration. The court merely ruled it would be premature “at this stage” to declare that part of the law — the section critics dub the “papers please” provision — unconstitutional. And — as Krauthammer conveniently overlooks — the Justices all but invited future challenges to the law once it goes into effect.

That’s hardly an endorsement. It’s a warning to those in Arizona who would enforce the law with the misguided belief that the darker a person’s skin the more likely it is they are an illegal immigrant.

Nor, as Krauthammer claims, does the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action policy evidence its “imperiousness.” Krauthammer relies — as did Justice Scalia in his politically charged dissent — on the baseless claim that by granting a two year stay from deportation to certain undocumented youth — those who entered as children, have completed school or the military, and have no significant criminal history — President Obama has refused to enforce the immigration law.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Since Mr. Obama took office in 2009, illegal border crossings have dropped to their lowest point since the 1970s and roughly a million unauthorized aliens have been deported— more than at any other time in the Nation’s history.

Stated simply, to protect the country the Administration has prioritized the removal of dangerous aliens. Even Krauthammer (and Justice Scalia) have to admit; it makes more sense to go after violent criminals and terrorists than it does to waste taxpayer dollars deporting promising youth.

That’s not a refusal to enforce the immigration law; that’s smart enforcement.

Perhaps Krauthammer’s real concern is the political chaos visited upon the Republicans since the president announced his Deferred Action initiative in June. Krauthammer should put partisan politics aside, stop condemning Mr. Obama, and encourage Republicans to support smart immigration enforcement. That would make sense given that the Hispanic vote will likely be the key to winning the White House this fall.

And, coincidentally, it would be the right thing to do.

About David Leopold
Past President American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), In-the-Trenches practicing immigration Attorney, Blogger, Activist, Photographer, Educator, World Traveler. All opinions are my own.

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