President-elect Donald Trump’s Inauguration is drawing near and it has the Dems frantically trying to find a way to keep young illegal immigrants here. They’re pushing for President Obama to issue a blanket pardon to thousands of young illegal immigrants who are in the deferred action program.
The problem is that the Obama White House has said this wouldn’t grant them legal status. Law experts also noted that while it’s true that a mass pardon wouldn’t grant them legal status, it could open the way for them to apply for such a designation. At the same time, like with TPP and closing Gitmo, this isn’t going to happen (via Liz Goodwin/Yahoo! News):
The White House has informed the Democrats that “the clemency power could not give legal status to any undocumented individual” and that only Congress has that power. Cecilia Muñoz, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said in a podcast last week that a mass pardon would not “protect a single soul from deportation.”
But the Democrats say in a new letter to Obama that he still has the responsibility and authority to issue a “narrow reprieve” for all civil immigration violations the young people may have committed. That would not create legal status, they argue, but could make them eligible to apply for it.
Jeffrey Crouch, a law professor at American University, said that even if this mass grant of pardon for a civil offense was possible, it’s unlikely that Obama would want to open up this “can of worms” so close to the end of his presidency. It would also be a departure from his unprecedented work commuting the sentences of more than 1,000 federal prisoners serving decades-long sentences for non-violent drug crimes.
“Granting clemency for a civil offense would be a real departure from how clemency is generally used,” Crouch told Yahoo News. Presidents have issued mass pardons in the past, such as Jimmy Carter’s blanket clemency for draft dodgers, but those related to criminal — not civil — offenses.