Unfortunately, this bit of news really isn’t surprising. According to America’s Voice, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today proudly stated the Obama Administration has granted fewer deferred actions than did the Bush Administration in its last year in office. A deferred action allows individuals a stay in deportation, usually because of compelling humanitarian concerns and is given at prosecutorial discretion.
Napolitano’s answer to a question posed by Sen. Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, fits the misguided strategy the Obama Administration has followed for the past two years. As Roxie Bacon, an ex-Obama immigration official, recently wrote in a post for a law journal, the administration is bent on winning over immigration reform opponents by showing its toughness, seemingly with little concern for the devastation these policies are causing and showing surprising naivety in thinking they can ever satisfy the enforcement lust of GOP hard-liners.
Sen. Grassley’s questions were prompted by a memo leaked last year proposing administrative actions DHS could pursue to temper laws that by Napolitano’s admission need revising. Napolitano told Grassley the administration granted fewer than 900 deferred actions during FY2010 while deporting more than 395,000 immigrants.
What is surprising is that a hardliner like Grassley seemed a bit stunned that the number was so low. The Obama Administration should note that number, however, will never be low enough for Grassley to endorse reform that promotes family unity, protects all workers and allows everyone to live freely and without fear of deportation. Ever.