The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) issued a new report that traces the evolution of the Obama Administration’s policy with regard to the immigration issue.

The report highlights that even as it boasts of ‘record levels’ of deportations, the Obama administration continues to seek de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants through executive action, thus ignoring congressional opposition. Parts of this strategy of administrative amnesty have been explored before, including in recent hearings before the House and Senate, but it has not been analyzed as a whole.

To that end, CIS analyzes the four leaked Department of Homeland Security memos that shed light on the evolution of this strategy. In ‘Amnesty by Any Means: Memos Trace Evolution of Obama Administration Policy,’ the Center’s National Security Policy Director, Janice Kephart, closely analyzes the four memos and shows the following:

  • The objective of the administration is to “reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization,” a policy laid out in June 2010 by Department of Homeland Security headquarters staff.
  • Nearly a year later, the means to achieve this goal evolved into the June 2011 “prosecutorial discretion” memo, in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton effectively told field agents to not enforce the law.
  • The White House embraced this memo and made it presidential policy in August 2011, making President Obama clearly responsible for the policy of minimizing immigration law enforcement to achieve amnesty without congressional support or approval.
  • The promotion of E-Verify, the successful worker authorization program, by the White House and Department of Homeland Security is set out in these memos as a ploy to distract voters from a series of administrative measures aimed at achieving amnesty, while ensuring a perception that the administration favors immigration law enforcement.

The report is available online here.