President Obama, pardon the DREAMers

(CNN)“Yes, we can” has become “No, we can’t.” Disappointing many immigrant advocates, the White House has signaled that it will not be taking action to protect DREAMers.

DREAMers are the young people brought to this country illegally by their parents, 740,000 of whom signed up for President Barack Obama’s program granting temporary deportation deferral: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Although House Democrats have asked Obama to use his power to pardon DACA recipients, that doesn’t seem likely right now.


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“We note that the clemency power could not give legal status to any undocumented individual,” a White House official told BuzzFeed. “As we have repeatedly said for years, only Congress can create legal status for undocumented individuals.”


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True, the White House has said the President will likely not be pardoning DREAMers. Yet Obama has reversed himself several times on immigration. In 2011, he said he could not suspend deportations through executive order, and then in 2012 announced the Deferred Action program. In 2013, Obama said he could not broaden that plan, and then in 2014 rolled out its proposed expansion, which ultimately failed due to legal challenges by Republican governors.
Pardoning the DREAMers will simply allow them to live without fear of removal, and to potentially adjust their status in the future. It would also balance Obama’s record as having deported more people than any other president.
History does not give much credit to intentions. If Obama wants to be remembered as a friend to immigrants, he must pardon the DREAMers.

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