Liberals cheer new US immigration rules, critics cry ‘amnesty’

August 20th, 2011 - 11:31 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) The Obama administration’s plan to focus its deportation efforts on illegal immigrants with criminal records or those who pose a threat to national security has been greeted with both cheers and jeers.

Hailing the new rules that also outline ways for those facing deportation, but having no criminal record, to remain in the US and even apply for a work permit, advocates said they would press the president for even more pro-immigration action.

But opponents, including many Republican lawmakers, called it a massive amnesty plan.

Influential US daily the New York Times, for one, hailed the Obama plan as a large step “Toward Immigration Sanity”.

“The White House has just taken a large step toward a more sensible and lawful policy on illegal immigration,” It said suggesting that “With this new policy, the administration is rejecting inflexible deportation policies that solve nothing.”

The Washington Post agreed editorially saying “The administration gets its priorities right on deportation.”

While “critics blasted the administration’s reassessment of deportation priorities as an affront to the rule of law”, it noted “Some immigration advocates hailed it as a potential panacea for tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants.”

“It is likely to be neither - not the unauthorized power grab that some fear or the far-reaching change that some hope for,” the Post said.

But as Politico, an influential Washington news site focusing on politics, reported the “new deportation policy is whipping up conservatives and liberals in the blogosphere - and leaving many from both sides angry over the president’s approach to immigration law.”

Writing at Red State, conservative commentator Daniel Horowitz as cited by Politico called it “an unprecedented move that usurps congressional authority.”

Many immigration advocates too expressed anger over the lack of fundamental reform, it said. Several liberal bloggers, however, praised the move, with immigradvocate calling it a “courageous decision” at the Daily Kos.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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