Obama likely to delay deportations, say experts

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‘Wrong side of the Constitution’?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales,

One of President Obama’s first moves toward trying to “fix” the U.S. immigration system without Congress will almost certainly be to expand on his 2012 executive order postponing deportation for potentially millions of young illegal immigrants, say experts on both sides of the debate.

Obama will likely sidestep Congress on immigration reform by expanding on his so-called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum, which essentially allows young illegal immigrants to remain in the United States if they were brought into the country illegally by their parents and have not been convicted of a major crime, Federation for American Immigration Reform spokesman Ira Mehlman predicted.

“I expect him to continue to ignore U.S. immigration law,” Mehlman said. “This can all be traced back to the DACA program … under the guise of not splitting up families.”

Although many Republicans believe President Obama is overreaching on the issue by advancing his immigration agenda without the support of Congress, there is broad support among Latinos, labor groups and other Democrat constituencies for him to act unilaterally.

The idea of extending delayed deportation to parents of young illegal immigrants also appears popular among Hispanic voters and will likely be recommended to the president by pro-immigration-reform groups with whom he has reportedly met in recent weeks.

A poll of registered Hispanic voters for the Center for American Progress Action Fund found strong support for renewing DACA as well as delaying deportation for the parents of young illegals protected under the program, people married to U.S. citizens and those living illegally in the United States for more than 10 years.

The respondents were “super excited” about such actions if they included the option of a work permit for illegals, said Gary Sugura of Latino Decisions, the opinion research group that conducted the poll. He also pointed out that Democratic candidates running in 2014 and beyond would benefit significantly from such changes.

The respondents were less supportive of so-called prosecutorial discretion, which essentially gives immigration officials say over which cases to pursue and prosecute.

As a sign of just how important the work permit issue is to pro-immigration advocates, particularly big business and organized labor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Janet Murguia, head of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group, on Tuesday called on Obama to provide work permits to everyone who would have been eligible for citizenship under the bipartisan immigration bill passed last year by the Senate.

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