6/26/10 8:15 AM EST Update:
Fox News is reporting the following:(emphasis is mine)
The Department of HomelandSecurity on Friday denied any plans to grant blanket amnestyto the “entire illegal immigrant population,” following claims from senators and others that the Obama administration has been holding behind-the-scenes talks to craft a gameplan for mass legalization.
The concern is that DHS, in a bid to bypass Congress, would extend what is known as deferred action or parole — actions usually taken on a case-by-case basis — to millions of illegal immigrants at once.
The department statement, however, did not address the possibility of giving a selective reprieve to the segment of the population holding expired visas — as opposed to those who crossed illegally. This is something that a former Bush administration official told FoxNews.com could be an option.
But the statement said the reprieves would not be drastically expanded. The department, while affirming its authority to grant the extensions “on the merits of cases,” said they are applied on a “case-by-case” basis.
“DHS does not grant deferred action without a review of relevant facts,” the statement said. “To be clear, DHS will not grant deferred action to the nation’s entire illegal immigrant population.”
In a previous post on Tuesday, I referred to a story where the non-profit immigration organization Numbers USA reported that a group of GOP senators sent President Obama a letter expressing their concern about rumors of an executive order being drawn up that would grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.
I spoke with Senator James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and one of the signers of the letter, on Thursday night about the matter. He noted that while nothing has been confirmed on the president’s end, he confirmed he signed the letter to the president. He also said:
“By executive order, he’s trying to do what should be done legislatively in terms of amnesty for a group of people who would otherwise not be entitled to it, and I’m opposed to that. At the time the letter was sent, he was either in the process of doing it or he’s already done it. I can’t tell you which.”
Here is the text of the letter signed by Senator Inhofe, Senator Grassley and Senator Hatch—Utah Republicans, Senator Vitter—Louisiana Republican, Senator Bunning—Kentucky Republican , Senator Chambliss—Georgia Republican, Senator Isakson—Georgia Republican, Senator Cochran–Mississippi Republican.
Dear President Obama:
We understand that there’s a push for your Administration to develop a plan to unilaterally extend either deferred action or parole to millions of illegal aliens in the United States. We understand that the Administration may include aliens who have willfully overstayed their visas or filed for benefits knowing that they will not be eligible for a status for years to come. We understand that deferred action and parole are discretionary actions reserved for individual cases that present unusual, emergent or humanitarian circumstances. Deferred action and parole were not intended to be used to confer a status or offer protection to large groups of illegal aliens, even if the agency claims that they look at each case on a “case-by-case” basis.
While we agree our immigration laws need to be fixed, we are deeply concerned about the potential expansion of deferred action or parole for a large illegal alien population. While deferred action and parole are Executive Branch authorities, they should not be used to circumvent Congress’ constitutional authority to legislate immigration policy, particularly as it relates to the illegal population in the United States.
The Administration would be wise to abandon any plans for deferred action or parole for the illegal population. Such a move would further erode the American public’s confidence in the federal government and its commitment to securing the borders and enforcing the laws already on the books.
We would appreciate receiving a commitment that the Administration has no plans to use either authority to change the current position of a large group of illegal aliens already in the United States, and ask that you respond to us about this matter as soon as possible.