There is vast concern among conservatives about reaching a long term consensus for resolving the immigration issue as America’s DREAMers celebrate the Obama Administration’s new policy approach for reconciling the deportation quandary faced by undocumented immigrants.
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Game theory provides a method for strategic thinking. It is the art of outdoing your adversary while recognizing they are trying to outdo you.
While anticipating presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s next move, the Obama administration made a preemptive tactical decision on immigration last week. They were adept at using the rules of looking ahead and reasoning backwards based on experience, evaluating and analyzing their position along the way before going forward to try and win the presidential election this November.
Last Friday, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security released a memorandum in which she stated: “I am setting forth how, in the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should enforce the Nation’s immigration laws against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home.”
“Additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities,” she added.
“Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people,” said President Obama.
“Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.”
Janet Napolitano and President Obama both emphasized this policy change does not offer a substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship.
Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights. It remains for the executive branch, however, to set forth policy for the exercise of discretion within the framework of existing law.
There was immediate and vehement reaction from the right. Republican Senator Marco Rubio (FL), a Cuban-American born of immigrants and a potential Mitt Romney vice presidential running mate called the move “a short-term answer to a long term problem,” accusing President Obama of sidestepping Congress.
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a little while longer to make a comment. His delay conveyed a sense of the complexity of his arguments during the Republican Primary season. During that time, he revealed his intentions to double down and enforce deportation laws for undocumented immigrants if he is elected President.
Eventually, he did finally say, “I’d like to see legislation that deals with this issue, and I happen to agree with Marco Rubio.” He also said: “If I’m president, we’ll do our very best to have that kind of solution.”
Many from the far right, including Rush Limbaugh, accused President Obama of declaring “amnesty for young illegals in what many people are calling a “jobs program” for illegals.
The dilemma for conservatives was three-fold. They were not happy.
First: there was the element of surprise through the Obama administration’s invoking of Prosecutorial Discretion which created much distress and a missed opportunity for Republicans to “block” the agenda.
Second: President Obama gained momentum and obvious increased support from the Hispanic community.
Last: conservatives were placed in a position of being observers rather than participants – and were not privileged to be a part of the process.
It will be impossible to predict all of the sequential moves and counter moves from the two presidential candidates over the next five months.
But, this election season is going to play like a game of chess.