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Nancy Pelosi Speaks Out Against Obama's Deportations. By Roger Algase

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Politico's top immigration reporter, Seung Min Kim, writes in a December 16 article that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is speaking out against the current pace of deportations. According to the article, Pelosi told Telemundo that the Obama administration should exercise some discretion about who is being deported, and that she had seen deportations that were "totally unjustified" in her home town of San Francisco.

See Nancy Pelosi pushes Obama on deportations

dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=8FBFDFAB-F385-47DA-90F3-E6051623A85F

According to Kim's article, Pelosi said:

"Our view of the law is, if someone is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation...If someone has broken the law or committed a felony or something, that is a different story."

Purely as a matter of law, even the strongest immigration advocates may have some serious questions about how accurate Pelosi's interpretation is, since being present in the US without legal status is indeed a ground for deportation, in and of itself.

However, if Pelosi's statement is taken as meaning that not every deportable person should actually be deported, based on exercise of administrative discretion, it is hard to argue with her.

But this puts Pelosi on a collision course with her fellow Democrat, President Barack Obama.

Kim writes:

"Still, the comments [by Pelosi] could raise the profile of an issue that has become an uncomfortable source of conflict between the Obama administration and immigrant-rights activists."

She also writes:

"But as reform languishes on Capitol Hill, attention has been turning toward the administration."

It would not be surprising if reform does a lot more languishing in the House in the upcoming 2014 election year, and a good deal more attention turns to the question of just how long the president can continue to get away politically with deporting over 1,000 people a day, since he has never had any moral or human rights justification for his policy of mass deportations.

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Updated 12-17-2013 at 09:49 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. MKolken's Avatar
    I get it. Now that Obama is no longer running for reelection, and his approval ratings are at Nixonian Watergate levels, it is in vogue for Pelosi to criticize him for what he has been doing for the entirety of his Presidency. There is a House (and Speakership) to retake after all.

    So the question becomes, if the GOP introduces piecemeal reform in 2014 will the DEMOCRATS block it because it is authored by Republicans?
    Updated 12-18-2013 at 09:22 AM by MKolken
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I think we need to do a lot of parsing about what "piecemeal" means (just as, in an entirely different context, not relevant here, there was a good deal of parsing about what "is" meant during the second term of our last Democratic president).

    If "piecemeal" means a good faith way of doing reform step by step, and the Democrats block genuine reform, they would deserve to lose the presidency in 2016.

    I do not think this will actually ever become an issue. I do not see any sign that the House Republicans are interested in genuine reform, if that is defined as, at a minimum, provisional legal status for 11 million unauthorized immigrants.

    Judging by their performance up to now, the most we could expect from the House Republicans would be a few bills around the edges of reform - such as maybe some more high tech and "guest worker" visas, mixed in with a lot of enforcement-heavy poison pills (such as giving state and local police more enforcement powers, effectively overruling Arizona v. US).

    That is not reform and there would be nothing for the Democrats to block, except more GOP hypocrisy,

    Some commentators look at "piecemeal" as a legislative strategy, one of many possible ways of passing legislation. I look at it as a code word - just another name for obstruction - in the current immigration reform context.

    If the House Republicans actually come out with a genuine legalization bill (and I am not referring to Darrell Issa's reported proposal to offer temporary legalization for a few years which would then expire if e-verify or some other unlikely to be achieved internal enforcement goals are not met by that time), then well and good.

    But all we have seen so far from the House GOP t is bait and switch - another shell game. I hope I am being overly pessimistic and that the House Republicans will come out one day with a real reform bill.

    I also hope that this will happen in my lifetime.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    New York NY
    Updated 12-18-2013 at 11:27 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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