Nearly one million law abiding immigrants who entered the country illegally as children will no longer face deportation, the White House announced this morning. The move works around a stalled Congress that has failed to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who have either served in the military or attended college.
Under the new policy, immigrants younger than 30, who entered the United States before the age of 16, and have or are currently attending high school or college or served in the military, will receive "deferred action." It's basically a two-year, renewable reprieve and work permit. The policy falls short, however, of providing a path to citizenship.
The GOP has been quick to call the move a violation of the President's oath of office to uphold the law. "President Obama’s attempt to go around Congress and the American people is at best unwise and possibly illegal," tweeted Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). "This is a classic Barack Obama move of choosing politics over leadership."
But DREAM Act policies are popular and recent polls show that only 10 percent of Americans believe that children brought here illegally should be deported. So how will Romney, who has yet to respond, attack Obama's election year move? As Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald points out, Americans don't really care how the sausage gets made, they care that it does get made. So the fact that Obama circumvented Congress might not bother an electorate that's fed up with gridlock.