Anti-Immigration Groups Demand End to ‘De Facto Amnesty’ « The Washington Independent
Conservative groups renewed calls this week for the administration to declare it will not push “backdoor amnesty” for the country’s illegal immigrant population.
The controversy is centered around a draft memo written by Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees that lays out potential policy changes that would help some non-dangerous immigrants in the U.S. avoid deportation. Conservatives claim the memo proved the Obama administration wants to bypass Congress to create amnesty for illegal immigrants.
It’s not exactly a new controversy — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined with other senators in June and July to decry the memo. ICE officials have repeatedly denied supporting amnesty and said in July the memo does not indicate any changes in policy, arguing “nobody should mistake deliberation and exchange of ideas for final decisions.”
These assurances were not enough for the 18 conservative groups who issued a joint letter this week arguing against the memo’s policies, our sister site, The Iowa Independent, reported yesterday:
Their letter to President Barack Obama called the perceived power grab an “abuse of power” that would “feed public cynicism.”
“The Obama administration’s secret memo from USCIS amounts to a smoking gun,” said Conlin Hanna, president of conservative group Let Freedom Ring. “Then the New York Times broke the story that this administration has unilaterally declared de facto amnesty for certain illegal aliens. This end-run amnesty is wholly unacceptable to the American people.”
The jointly-authored letter “strongly urged” the Obama administration to refrain from using executive power “to effectively legalize significant numbers of illegal aliens.” The groups distributed the letter, which also points to “abuses of the legislative process” during the national debate on health care reform, Monday to the National Press Club.
Because ICE officials already said the memo should not be official policy and denied plans for mass amnesty, it’s unclear what the groups hope to accomplish. If anything, immigrants’ rights groups argue the Obama administration has been too harsh on illegal immigration. Mary Giovagnoli of the Immigration Policy Center, argued in June the issue is a “right-wing conspiracy theory” and that no amnesty plans have been pushed by the administration or Congress.