The Permanence of a 'Temporary' Amnesty

By Mark Krikorian on June 21, 2012

In my piece at National Review Online today, I discuss what other amnesties the White House might try to enact administratively if it gets away with this one, and I make the point in passing that there’s nothing temporary about the "temporary" status the DREAM beneficiaries will receive. The administration and its supporters have constantly emphasized how provisional the new status will be, that it can be revoked in the future, etc. Bunk. The system of Temporary Protected Status was the model for Obama's DREAM decree, and as I noted in a piece on TPS I wrote 13 years ago (!): "But it is clear that the concept of temporary protection has not been, and cannot be, successful i.e., truly temporary. It is simply a lie if used as a fig leaf to cover political unwillingness to enforce the law or as a back door to permanent immigration." This is why it was probably smart for Romney to dodge the question of whether he'd revoke the "temporary" status of any DREAMers who might get it — it would be politically very problematic to retroactively take away legal status and work authorization in a way that canceling the Obama decree prospectively would not.

And there's actually lemonade to be made out of this lemon. If the DREAM decree ends up being enacted, it makes a broader amnesty less likely for several reasons: it poisons relations between Congress and president, as I noted the other day; it further taints the idea of amnesty because it will be an administrative nightmare suffused with fraud of the most lurid kind; and it takes the most sympathetic cases off the table. All those valedictorians (are they all valedictorians?) who came here at two months old and are headed to MIT, where they will develop sparkly new technologies to create jobs and kill our enemies, won’t be available for sob stories any more, making it a lot harder to guilt the average skeptical congressmen into supporting even more amnesties.