Who Might Benefit from Executive Amnesty?

By Jessica Vaughan, November 17, 2014

The marquee item in the president's planned executive amnesty reportedly will be legalization and work permits for several million illegal aliens who are the parents of U.S. citizen or legally resident children. Pro-amnesty advocates obviously are calculating that the public will find this group sympathetic and appropriate beneficiaries who should not be a target for deportation – but are they really?

Let's take a look at some cases of illegal aliens who would qualify.

Case 1. Last week, the Boston Globe ran a huge front-page story about Moises Herrera with the inspiring headline "Immigrants pinning hopes on Obama". Under the apparent guidelines as reported, Herrera would qualify for executive amnesty. This "minivan-driving father from El Salvador" crossed illegally in 2005 and was caught by the Border Patrol and released pending a hearing (like those caught in the recent surge). He failed to appear at his immigration hearing because he feared deportation and settled in Massachusetts, working as a house painter and in a bakery. He left behind a stepson and two daughters and eventually married again here. He was jailed and deported after a traffic stop in 2011 (driving without a license is a criminal offense in Massachusetts), returned illegally, and was arrested again in October 2014 for running a stoplight, unlicensed driving, and providing a false identity to police. These charges were dismissed, but he was arrested by ICE. ICE apparently declined to prosecute him for the felony charge of illegal re-entry after deportation, but was pursuing deportation since he is an egregious immigration violator as well as a bad driver. ICE has since dropped deportation proceedings because: 1) his wife recently gave birth to a child and 2) his 17-year-old daughter arrived illegally over the summer as part of the surge of unaccompanied juveniles. So now he has two "equities" in immigration law parlance, and under Obama administration policy this should be sufficient to spare him from deportation.

Case 2. On Saturday, November 8, 2014, a woman who is a resident of Mexico arrived at the border crossing in Presidio, Texas, in an advanced stage of labor. U.S. CPB officers assisted in the delivery of her baby and arranged for transportation to a U.S. hospital for postpartum care. Her citizenship or immigration status has not been reported, but the baby is a U.S. citizen. Presumably, if she does not have legal status, she could now qualify for the president's executive amnesty because she is the parent of a newborn U.S. citizen, just like Moises Herrera.

Case 3. On March 4, 2014, a woman from El Salvador went into labor shortly after being apprehended by the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley, where smugglers have directed most of the illegal surge arrivals from Central America. Agents delivered the baby and transferred the woman and the new citizen to a local hospital. Since she was likely released, rather than returned, as per the administration's policy on "family units", presumably she soon will be in line for the executive amnesty.

Amnesty proponents would argue that none of these illegal alien parents of U.S. citizens should be cruelly separated from their U.S. citizen children by deportation to their home country. I would argue that none of these children, neither the newborns nor Herrera's newly arrived "unaccompanied" daughter, have meaningful ties to the United States that would merit any relief from deportation. If their parents are deported, the children should go with them. There is no law that says U.S. citizens must reside and be raised in the United States.

Perhaps there are some cases that are more compelling for amnesty, such as long-resident illegal aliens with good moral character who lack a history of multiple immigration offenses. But the gimmick that the president has chosen – parents of U.S. citizen or legally resident children (parents of DACA Dreamers?) is simply designed to cover as many illegal aliens as possible in one arbitrary category.

Send us your examples of other likely candidates for executive amnesty; surely there are plenty of other not-so-sympathetic cases for the president's executive amnesty!