As the Republican runners make their stance on immigration clear, Hilary Clinton also moves to convey to the American populace how she would handle one of the more crucial platform issues in this presidential race. To everyone’s surprise, Clinton promised not to deport illegal immigrants except for violent criminals and terrorists.
This comes in sharp contrast to Obama’s tacit inaction towards illegal immigrants, which, although still resulting in thousands of deportations a year, do not even come close to dealing with the excessive backlog of illegal immigrants held up in the court system throughout the nation.
Of course, regardless of how the candidates believe immigration should be handled, the Supreme Court is expected to decide in June the constitutionality of Obama’s current deferred action program and possibly set a future president for the next president to abide by.
Obama’s 2014 executive actions declared that the administration would no longer target illegal immigrants who have not committed crimes (other than illegal entry), stating that he wanted to deport “felons, not families.”
The executive actions had an exception, however: immigrants who arrived illegally since Jan. 1, 2014, including tens of thousands of people fleeing from violence and corruption in Central America, are still subject to deportation, so long as they did not qualify for political asylum.
The stance predictably met strong opposition from immigrant rights groups, followed by strong support for both Clinton and Sanders, who both clearly stated their opposition to the Obama administration’s policies.
“The fact that both [Clinton and Sanders] had the wherewithal to say we should not deport children, as a stark contrast to the Obama administration, and that both mentioned they agreed with the president on most things except on this was very powerful and very important,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.
Experts believe that Clinton’s plans would be legal even if the Supreme Court finds against Obama’s work permit expansion, since it would simply broaden the DHS enforcement guidelines but not necessarily add more work permits.