An Analysis of Immigration Policy in the Second Year of the Obama Administration
Washington D.C. - This week, the Immigration Policy Center released its Second Annual DHS Progress Report: An Analysis of Immigration Policy in the Second Year of the Obama Administration. After two years in office, the Obama Administration faces numerous immigration challenges—many of its own making. With comprehensive immigration reform held hostage by Congress, the Administration faces a dilemma: how can it realize its vision of a humane and just immigration system—for which President Obama has so eloquently called—when the immigration system is no longer fully functioning?
The Immigration Policy Center’s first DHS Progress Report tracked the first year under the Obama Administration, finding that there was great enthusiasm within the DHS to shift away from deportation-only priorities and more fully engage the public. But a disturbing tendency has taken hold that relies on enforcement-driven strategies as a way to prove that the Administration is sufficiently enforcement-minded and can therefore justify its support for comprehensive immigration reform.
Today’s report finds that this tendency has turned into a dogged insistence that the Administration’s hands are tied without Congressional action. This conclusion is unwarranted, given the wide range of executive branch authority available to DHS and the President. It is also a shortsighted perspective in an era when Congress seems ill-equipped to govern the nation.
The report details DHS’s progress in three areas: prioritization, transparency, and coordination. DHS gets mixed reviews, largely because there are institutional flaws in how immigration policy is made and implemented. First, by assuming that legislative reform would and could solve all the department’s woes, there has been insufficient attention paid to reforming DHS from within. Because of this mindset, the three immigration agencies—ICE, CBP, and USCIS—continue to operate on different planes, with insufficient coordination and increasingly differing approaches to the same issues or cases.
The report recommends a renewed commitment to prosecutorial discretion and other executive branch authority; further expansion of efforts to engage and involve the public in immigration policy making; continued support for programs such as citizenship and integration training; and a rejection of the mindset that deportation is the natural consequence of enforcing the law.
To view the report in its entirety, see:
Second Annual DHS Progress Report: An Analysis of Immigration Policy in the Second Year of the Obama Administration (IPC Special Report, April 12, 2011)
To hear a recording of a tele-briefing on the report click here or visit: