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January 17th, 2013
10:35 AM ET

Opinion: Solve immigration without a quick path to citizenship

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette

By Ruben Navarette, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - What is President Obama up to? When it comes to immigration, it's usually no good.

After all, this is the same president who ran for re-election packaged as a kinder and gentler alternative to cold-hearted Republicans who wanted illegal immigrants to "self deport" while, back at the ranch, the Department of Homeland Security was removing illegal immigrants 24/7 at a record pace. In the 2012 fiscal year that ended September 30, an unprecedented 409,849 people were deported. This was an increase from the previous year and it occurred despite policy changes - i.e., those spelled out in the March 2011 memo by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton urging prosecutorial discretion - that were supposedly going to limit removals to hardened criminals.

In four years, the administration has removed a record 1.5 million illegal immigrants. And while administration officials may insist that many of them were guilty of felonies and thus less sympathetic, they leave out that under current law, a nanny or gardener who is deported and simply re-enters the country is a felon.

But there are two bright spots in Obama's immigration record. Last summer, the White House announced a policy change that lets undocumented young people avoid deportation by applying for deferred action and two-year work permits. And last month, in a much more obscure change, the administration said it would ease requirements to help undocumented immigrants who seek permanent residency and must return to their home countries to do so.

These folks currently have to wait up to 10 years outside the United States before being able to legally re-enter. But there is a waiver that gives them permission to return to the United States sooner if their U.S.-based families would suffer an extreme hardship from the separation. Under the change, immigrants can remain in the United States while applying for that waiver.

Now Obama wants to go further.

Read Navarette's full column

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Latin

    I think that many people are putting all the latinos under one name "Crimminals" and thats not the case many who are here illegally do their taxes work hard and try to give their families a better life even if it means working outside under the hot sun or even in the cold winter cleaning side walks with shovels. The illegal should only be deported if they have crimminal records and are in the drug bussiness.

    February 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jorge

    What are we going to do about the genius cops/INS people who accidentallyonpurpose harass, arrest and deport Hispanic U.S. citizens and legal residents???

    January 18, 2013 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gi Jon

    If i rob a bank and say you should not arrest me because i want more money for my family the cops would laugh and Im doing time should not treat illegals any different

    January 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gi Jon

    All illegals that have false ss cards and fill out an I9 are double felons and should be arrested and then deported not given a free pass

    January 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |