By Robert VerBruggen, National Review Online
According to an internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services memo going the rounds of Capitol Hill and obtained by National Review, the agency is considering ways in which it could enact “meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action” — that is, without the consent of the American people through a vote in Congress.
“This memorandum offers administrative relief options to . . . reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization,” it reads.
Also: “In the absence of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, USCIS can extend benefits and/or protections to many individuals and groups by issuing new guidance and regulations, exercising discretion with regard to parole-in-place, deferred action and the issuance of Notices to Appear (NTA), and adopting significant process improvements.”
In recent weeks, Sen. Chuck Grassley and others in Congress have been pressing the administration to disavow rumors that a de facto amnesty is in the works, including in a letter to Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano. “Since the senators first wrote to the president more than a month ago, we have not been reassured that the plans are just rumors, and we have every reason to believe that the memo is legitimate,” a Grassley spokesman tells NR. (NR contacted DHS, but a spokesman did not have a comment on the record.)
Many of the memo’s proposals are technical and fine-grained; for example, it suggests clarifying the immigration laws for “unaccompanied minors, and for victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other criminal activities.” It also proposes extending the “grace period” H-1B visa holders have between the expiration of their visa and the date they’re expected to leave the country.
Read the Memo