Is Obama's Semi-Amnesty for Real?
By Bryan Caplan
I don’t just think that immigration restrictions are bad policy; I think they’re a grotesque crime against humanity – with all that implies. Given this starting point, Obama’s semi-amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants sounds like the best U.S. political news of the 21st-century. I can’t remember the last time any American policy change actually made me happy or even hopeful. I’d like to believe this is for real.
Given our political climate, however, it’s hard to tell. Obama wants to claim he’s helping lots of innocent kids. His critics want to claim that he’s opening the floodgates to illegal immigration. Who’s around to say, “Obama pretends like he’s helping lots of immigrants, but it’s mostly symbolic,” if that were in fact the case?
My question: Official reports say that an “estimated 800,000” will enjoy a reprieve. Is there any reason to doubt that figure?
Update: Cato’s Alex Nowrasteh:
If the above plan is implemented fully, between 800,000 and 2.1 million unauthorized immigrants could be legalized for up to two years.
[B]efore we get too thrilled about the prospects of this sorely needed
temporary liberalization, we should remember that hardly anything
changed the last time the Obama administration used its prosecutorial
discretion to review deportation cases. His administration promised to
wade through backlogged cases and close those where the unauthorized
immigrants had strong American family ties and no criminal records.
Since that policy went into effect in November 2011, DHS officials have
reviewed more than 411,000 cases and less than 2 percent of them were