The Obama administration plans a rule change to help reduce the time illegal immigrant spouses and children are separated from citizen relatives while they try to win legal status in the United States, a senior administration official said.
Currently, illegal immigrants must leave the country before they can ask the government to waive a three- to 10-year ban on legally coming back to the U.S. The length of the ban depends on how long they have lived in the U.S. without permission.
The official said Thursday the new rule would let children and spouses of citizens ask the government to decide on the waiver request before the illegal immigrant heads to his or her home country to apply for a visa. The illegal immigrants still must go home to finish the visa process to come back to the U.S., but getting the waiver ahead of time could reduce the time an illegal immigrant is out of the country.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the proposed policy change had not been made public.
If an illegal alien has no other criminal record, beyond violating America’s increasingly meaningless immigration laws, they can claim their absence would cause “extreme hardship” for spouses, parents, or children, and they get a waiver. (Whose absence would not cause “extreme hardship” for their dependents?) Not that such aliens had much to worry about, since the Administration has already ducked around Congress to impose standards from the defeated DREAM Act upon deportation cases.
As it stands, such waiver applications require a journey to a consular office in Mexico, most commonly the one in Ciudad Juarez, which the L.A. Times points out has the highest murder rates in Mexico. Illegals will now be relieved of that burden, or any other requirement to return across the border they have violated. They can file at a convenient location in the United States, and stay put while they wait for their case to be resolved.
The Times makes it clear that this is all being done for partisan political advantage:
Obama has called for an overhaul of the immigration system that would provide a path to legal status for the 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. But even when the House and Senate were both in Democratic hands, he could not muster the votes needed to pass that plan. The prospects are even weaker now that the House is under Republican control.
So Obama is attempting unilateral steps meant to bring about what he sees as an immigration system that is fairer and less destructive to families.
The proposal is likely to win plaudits from a crucial constituency in the 2012 election: Latinos.
Obama won two-thirds of the Latino vote in 2008, and he needs this fast-growing constituency energized and excited about his reelection.
Remember also that this Administration crusades tirelessly against all attempts to tighten up voter identification requirements. Anyone who doubts the importance of winning the Presidency should contemplate this latest attempt to reshape the American electorate through raw executive power.
It doesn’t matter what legal citizens, including legal immigrants, think about immigration laws, because the ruling class has decided not to enforce them. Immigration has become a matter of ritual, not law, and there’s no reason for those rituals to unduly inconvenience anyone, especially not when important voting blocs await pandering.