The Compassion Loophole

Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00

In the next few weeks President Obama will announce some changes to his enforcement of our nations immigration laws. The change will allow millions of people to come out of the shadows and live more normal lives. Like work legally, pay taxes, call the police and take drives tests.



Some conservatives will demonize the President's act of compassion. Some liberals will say he didn't go far enough. At Rational Immigration we say; “Thank you Mr President for doing the compassionate and sensible thing.”




Using an executive order to change immigration law for millions of people is going to have many implications. It has dangers and yet we support it. The United States is a good place to live because we have a Constitutional Democracy. If the President's order couldn't be supported constitutionally we would have no choice but to oppose it. But smart lawyers have found a loophole called “administrative relief” or “deferred action.” It is written into the current immigration law to give the authorities some leeway in egregious cases. Since Congress couldn't agree on a new immigration law the President and his advisors have to interpret the one we have. Administrative relief can be expanded because nothing the Congress wrote in the current law says that it is constrained.


Loopholes like this have been discovered and used in the past. President Clinton used the National Monuments Law, which until then had only been used of small parcels, to set aside ten percent of the land in southern Utah as a defacto National Park. It was done in the waning days of his presidency to circumvent Congress. A few years ago President Obama created DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) because Congress couldn't pass the Dream Act. So far it has passed legal muster. And so will the new form of Deferred Action for New Americans (DANA).


The accusations against the President will be that his action is political. It is, but so is Congress's failure to act. And that it is unconstitutional. It is not. As shown above, the Congress left a loophole the President enlarged it.


President Obama has the good sense to recognize a fact: There are roughly 11 million people living here in legal limbo and we are not going to deport them. So we have to start allowing them to live normal lives. Compassion is the proper course.