• Obama to stop deporting illegal relatives of U.S. troops, veterans

    The Obama administration on Friday carved out yet another category of illegal immigrants it says it will no longer deport — in this case saying that relatives of U.S. troops and veterans who previously served can apply to stay in the country.

    The administration said it was making the move because it was worried illegal immigration was hurting military readiness, and this would be a way to relieve some of the "stress and anxiety" faced by troops whose relatives are illegal immigrants.

    By Stephen Dinan
    The Washington Times
    Friday, November 15, 2013

    In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the veterans have earned the right to have their illegal immigrant relatives stay in the country with them.

    "Similarly, our veterans, who have served and sacrificed for our nation, can face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members in the United States. We as a nation have made a commitment to our veterans, to support and care for them. It is a commitment that begins at enlistment, and continues as they become veterans," the agency said in a memo outlining the new policy.

    The administration said the new policy applies to spouses, children and even parents of troops and veterans. They can apply for parole, which lets them stay in the country for one-year increments, which can be renewed by the department.

    Immigrant-rights groups said the move was both welcome and overdue — but also said it shows President Obama could go even further and halt most deportations.

    "We applaud the step and it underscores the truth that the President can and should do more, for all families," said Marisa Franco, an organizer for the National Day Laborer Organization, which has been organizing protests of Mr. Obama's deportation policies. "The president has the legal authority and the moral obligation to significantly expand upon the memo released today."

    The new policy is the latest in a steady stream of orders carving out certain categories of people the Obama administration says it will no longer deport.

    The biggest single move came last year when the president ordered agents to stop deporting young illegal immigrants who would have qualified for the Dream Act — legislation that would have granted citizenship to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who were pursuing an education or promised to join the military. That legislation never passed, but Mr. Obama said those illegal immigrant were deserving of some relief anyway.

    But the unilateral moves have drawn criticism from conservatives who say Mr. Obama is overstepping his powers and ignoring the laws.

    Friday's policy came a day after Mr. Obama said he would use "enforcement discretion" and not enforce a part of his own health care law requiring most health plans to meet stringent standards by early next year.

    The administration said it was able to suspend its own law under the same authority Mr. Obama used to stop deporting young people.

    "The secretary's authority can be used in narrow circumstances to ease implementation short of legislative changes — and this is one of those instances," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday in defending the Obamacare carve-out. "This type of action was used for last year in the administration's policy on deferred action for childhood arrivals pending immigration reform, for example. That was something that DHS did."

    In both the illegal immigrant children and health care instances, the administration cited prosecutorial discretion powers.

    Friday's announcement on military families cited a slightly different "parole" power.

    USCIS said it has the legal authority under a section of immigration law that gives the Homeland Security secretary discretion "on a case-by-case basis" to parole foreigners. Parole is usually used to let people in foreign countries enter the U.S., but the agency said it can also be used to let illegal immigrants stay.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Obama relying more on immigration rule changes started by Jean View original post