Obama’s Immigration Nuclear Option: Stopping Deportations Unilaterally

Molly Ball, The Altantic, August 28, 2013

The biggest obstacle facing immigration reform may be not opposition but inertia. Leaders of the House of Representatives have said they plan to act, but with the coming months likely to be consumed by budget drama, immigration could fall by the wayside.

If that happens, advocates of immigration reform have another idea: They’ll push Obama to press the button on the immigration-reform nuclear option.

The option commonly referred to by immigration reformers as “Plan B” would see the president take executive action to prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported—along the lines of the deferred-action program the administration created for “Dreamers” last year. It wouldn’t be a panacea, and it wouldn’t give them citizenship. But such an action could at least spare some from the constant threat of deportation. And perhaps just as important, it could exact major political revenge on Republicans, galvanizing the Hispanic electorate against them and further hurting their image with the fastest-growing segment of voters.

The idea gained some prominence earlier this month, when Republican Senator Marco Rubio mentioned it in a talk-radio interview: ”I believe that this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, to issue an executive order as he did for the Dream Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen,” Rubio said.


Richard Morales, director of deportation prevention for the PICO National Network, confirmed that activists are prepared to turn their sights on the White House. ”Organizers think long term, so they know that legislation is one way, but that DACA”—the June 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—“has proven that the administration can provide another way,” he told me in an email. {snip}

The Washington Post’s Brad Plumer recently examined the potential mechanics of a broad executive action halting deportations. A large number of legal experts endorsed DACA, though some conservatives argue it was unconstitutional. Depending on the extent of a broader action, a similar rationale—assigning certain cases lower-priority status based on prosecutorial discretion—could apply, but it would only give the undocumented a temporary reprieve and the ability to work legally, not permanent residency or citizenship.

Advocates say DACA proved that executive action to halt deportations is both legal and politically beneficial. Prior to Obama’s June 2012 announcement, his advisers knew he needed to rally a Latino community that largely felt he’d failed to keep his word to them and resented his administration’s record pace of deportations. But the Obama camp worried about a backlash from independent voters. Such a backlash never materialized; meanwhile, Hispanic voters turned out for Obama in record numbers.


Still, the rumbles about Plan B in immigration-reform circles have yet to reorient reformers’ strategy toward a new goal. The topic is still somewhat taboo, as the official strategy remains focused on winning the legislative fight. “Our goal is legislation that will put the 11 million [current undocumented immigrants] on an eventual path to citizenship. That’s permanent protection for millions of people,” said Frank Sharry of America’s Voice.

But some liberals, like TPM’s Josh Marshall, are already saying it’s time to “stop pretending that this bill is going to pass” and start blaming Republicans for killing it instead. And immigration reformers are prepared to change their tune if things get to that point. “In the final analysis, if Republicans block it in the House, of course we’re going to look at all of our options, including pressing the president,” Sharry said.

The big question is whether Obama would consider such a move, and that is something no one seems to know. His official position is that he is not considering it: ”The only solution to this problem is for Congress to fix the broken immigration system by passing comprehensive reform,” a spokesman said earlier this month. {snip}

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  • MekongDelta69

    NoBama can do anything he wants now, because there is no one in government who has the cojones to oppose him.

    • joesolargenius

      Obama is a puppet whom does as he is ordered and will be well compensated for his tratorial actions , I wonder where his Library will be or even worse the terrible Barrack Obama BLVD.

      • President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Avenue.

        • me

          Barry Soetoro’s Marxist Studies Emporium, Islamic Mosque, Synagogue, chicken shack juke joint, and taco emporium. Who knows what to make of the man, other than his ‘legacy’ will be sh#t– especially after he starts WWIII by aggression towards Syria.

    • me

      There’s always impeachment. Lord knows we have more than enough to back up the indictment.

      • Jesse James

        Everything except Republican legislators with the character and willpower to bring a charge that would result in a vote to impeach the President.

    • No one wants to be called a rayciss.

      It seems as if the race-card is undefeated in D.C.

    • Thor Bonham

      That and he’s not up for re-election .. Course, not the he wouldn’t win again by hook or by crook, like he did here on his second term ..

  • This is one pill Obama should carefully consider the side effects of before swallowing. You know what they say about best laid schemes? The politics are said to be a perfect storm in his favor. Except when you start thinking about details and consequences.

    1. The reality is that hardly anyone is actually deported. An Obama EO stopping deportations will have almost no real effect on the illegal aliens already in the country. Which means the political benefit that Democrats will get from happy Hispanics will be virtually zero. Besides, they already have Hispanics by about a 2:1 margin generally. However, that hardly anyone is actually deported is not a well known fact. If Obama unilaterally halts “deportations” then brags about it, a lot of white voters will think that he actually stopped actual deportations from taking place, get mad, and take it out on Democrats.

    2. Since Hispanics were only 8.4% of the electorate in 2012, and Presidential electorates are high turnout electorates for minorities, they’ll be less than that in 2014. Hispanics may be a “fast growing” segment of voters, but they’re still not much of a political entity overall. One thing you have to remember about demographics and voting is that each demographic group may consist of a certain percentage of all voters, but they internally also have their floors and ceilings for partisan preference. If, as I estimate, only 25% of Hispanic voters are truly swingable, (assume 60% automatically vote Democrat, 15% automatically vote Republican, the other 25% could go either way), this means that 25% times 8.4% means that only 2.1% of a Presidential year electorate consists of swingable Hispanics. Applied to the electoral college, and it’s likely that swingable Hispanics may have very little state-by-state sway, MAYBE Nevada and Colorado at best. Meanwhile, I estimate that a quarter of the entire electorate consists of swingable white voters.

    3. If Obama plays this card, and he, his party and the media pin the blame on Republicans in Congress for not passing legislative amnesty, Obama will only be doing for Republicans what the Republican leadership and establishment are too stupid to do to help themselves. He and they will be telling white voters that Republicans (at least the non-establishment non-leadership ones) don’t want to swing the borders wide open to let millions of non-whites flood into the country.

    • Oil Can Harry

      If Obama issues an executive order banning all deportations it will be a boon for the GOP.

      Their talking points would be: Hey voters, the Democrats’ official policy is that if six billion people sneak into the US next year they’ll all be allowed to stay and live off the taxpayers.

    • borogirl54

      Despite their numbers, a good majority of Hispanics are not legally able to vote. In midyear elections, they do not turn out in droves. I read today where Biden and Holder are going to push gun control legislation. If this succeeds, this is going to bring out white voters in droves, especially in the rural areas and in the South and this will negate any advantage that Hispanic vote will have.

      • Senate elections are state by state, Congressional elections are district by district. If Obama Team starts pushing “gun control” (blame working class white people for black crime and SSRI-addled urban SWPL white beta male rage mass shootings), sure, rural and Southern whites will show up, but their districts are already red. This could change the outcome of a few Senate elections.

        However, I don’t think they’re going to try that. What they really want to do is keep the Senate and somehow be able to win the House in spite of most states having Republican-favored gerrymanders. Their only hope to do that is to depress white conservative turnout. And that’s where John Boner pushing amnesty and open borders comes in.

    • ViktorNN

      I like your third point.

      As bad as ceasing deportations and passing other forms of amnesty by executive decision would be, there’s a sense in which stopping the bi-partisan charade (as if many average Americans, especially white Americans, actually want amnesty) tears the mask off the face of the system and reveals it for what it is – anti-democratic, anti-working class, pro-globalization, pro-corporate and most of all, anti-white.

      I hope ceasing deportations and the other stealth forms of amnesty NEVER pass, but if they do – let them be passed through executive decree, top-down, by a non-white President, against the will of the white majority. The truth revealed by such an outcome would resonate deeply with a lot of us.

      • I don’t want either to happen, but if they’re going to happen, I can only hope Obama is arrogant enough to declare war on Syria and declare executive order quasi-amnesty for illegal aliens in the same press conference. Approval rating at the beginning of the press conference: 40%. At the end: 20%.

  • Would it be any different under President McCain or President Romney?

    • RisingReich

      Nope. Other than it may have already taken place.

    • No. McCain, we know. Romney, it’s now obvious that he’s open borders all the way in his “heart,” and any pretense otherwise was a scam to win Republican votes.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      There is no comparison between John McAmnesty and Mitt Romney. Roy Beck, head of NumbersUSA:

      “If Mitt Romney actually wins, he will probably be the most anti-immigration president since Eisenhower. Of course this isn’t saying much, as the continuing policy since the 1960s has been more and more immigration and continually ignoring the problem of immigrants living and working here illegally. But Romney will be ten times better than Obama and even better than both Bushes and Ronald Reagan.”

      Romney’s big mistake was his choice of establishment Republican “consultants” who bragged about keeping conservatives on immigration away from Romney in the general election campaign. He was effectively neutered.

      • I don’t agree with that. If Romney had any semblance of immigration patriotism, why did he ditch Kris Kobach and surround himself with open borders munchkins after early March 2012, when he essentially had the nomination wrapped up? Why are his important ex-people right now mouthing off for amnesty, one of them joining George Soros’s putsch to try to scam evangelical Christian leaders into supporting amnesty?

        Personnel is policy.

        • White Mom in WDC

          Isn’t Romney part Mexican too? I’m sure would effect his stance

          • I don’t consider the Romney family to be ethnically Mexican in any way. Romney was/is open borders for the usual mehe deja le meme chose reasons that extremely wealthy individuals are for open borders.

          • White Mom in WDC

            Yeah. Cheap labor and cheap poon

          • NorthSea

            Instead of military service, he spent time in France as a Mormon missionary. Trying to convert those heathen French.

        • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

          “A hardline stance on immigration was a big part of Romney’s primary race platform from late September on, even after Perry faded. A few days before the Iowa caucuses, as Romney was locked in a battle with Santorum for the state, he vowed to veto the Dream Act, a plan to give some children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.
          And perhaps most harmful to his relationship with Latinos, Romney said he supported creating an environment where undocumented immigrants “self-deported.” Prominent Republicans such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush criticized Romney for this stance.” (Mitt Romney Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades Laments Hard-Right Shift On Immigration, 12/03/2012 Huffington Post)

          Whatever Romney campaign consultants said or did, or now do, Romney himself never substantially backed off from these positions during the election campaign. He was just too frightened/too intimidated by “expert” advice to defend them — or to keep Kobach.

          • Yes he did back off from those positions. First off, he never even said anything about immigration after early March and before the fall. (And now you know why). Second, when he was pressed in the fall, he tipped over his hand for the open borders cards for all to see.

            Those quotes are from open borders hacks who are upset that Romney ever pretended to be an immigration patriot. They want to spread the meme that immigration patriotism is a loser. Romney’s problem is that he didn’t keep up the immigration patriotism, because he was on the other side of it. The political loser is open borders.

          • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

            I’ll concede Romney backed off at least one of those positions when he said something about not overturning Obama’s two-year temporary legalization of Dreamers. (He didn’t say he would extend it, however, if I recall.)

            But I don’t think you can substantiate with direct quotes, QD, that Romney backed off all other of “those positions.” He certainly avoided and feared saying “anything about immigration” if he could at all help it. But silence is not capitulation to the openly amnesty wing of the party which, among GOP presidential candidates, included everyone else.

            Quotes, QD?

          • Among other things, look at the town hall Presidential debate. Romney came out for stapling green cards to diplomas of those here on student visas.

          • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

            Not a new position. Romney had been for more H-1B visas since, at least, September, 2011. The “stapling green cards” to diplomas metaphor was in use by Romney that early.

        • MBlanc46

          It really doesn’t matter what he said. “Self-deportation” was always meaningless. The status quo suits the elites and the Mexicans just fine. They’d love to have an amnesty, of course, but leaving things as they are means Mexicans continuing to pour over the border and employers continuing to hire them.

      • Webspin

        The Mormon church isn’t just for amnesty, it actively seeks and bring over all types of “diverse” peoples from 3rd world hellholes.

    • NorthSea

      Candidate Romney stated during the 2012 Campaign that if elected, he planned on following Tel Aviv’s recommendations regarding U..S. defense policy in the Middle East since “they’re the experts”. Yes, their success is legendary.

  • RisingReich

    I have to believe if he does this it will backfire on him.
    Well – I’d HOPE it backfires. Who am I kidding – reality is so messed up anymore hard to imagine what SHOULD happen will actually come to pass.

    • Spartacus

      Speaking of backfire, have you noticed Obama has a big admiration for people who got assassinated ? Lincoln, Monkey Luther King, etc. Just pointing that out .

  • Spartacus

    “The option commonly referred to by immigration reformers as “Plan B”
    would see the president take executive action to prevent undocumented
    immigrants from being deported—along the lines of the deferred-action
    program the administration created for “Dreamers” last year.”



    • me

      Obummer is between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he has the non-goy backers/masters yelling at him to open the borders. On the other hand, his wife and her family are probably not too happy with Blacks being forced to the back of the bus again by Mestizo squat monsters. What to do….what to do….either way, Obummer is screwed. LOL!

  • DonReynolds

    “I, Barack Obama, do solemnly swear that I WILL FAITHFULLY EXECUTE the Office of President of the United States, and WILL TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY, preserve, protect and defend the CONSTITUTION of the United States.”

    • More like:

      I, Barack Obama, will do as I please.

      • jeffaral

        With the tacit consent of the American sheeple.

    • Alexandra1973

      If he was serious about it he would never have run to begin with.

  • Evette Coutier

    The upside to amnesty is the effect it will have on blacks. They will lose their political pull as both the democrats and republicans pander to the Hispanics. They will be further marginalized by their beloved democrats who only want their vote, and their economic situation will vastly decay for them. The irony for blacks is that they are being sold out by the first black president. When that finally sinks into their heads, it will be beyond adding insult to injury, and their focused hate may turn on our Mexican friends. It be nice for us if the Hispanics and blacks took care of each other for us.

    • me

      They already are at each others’ throats in ‘diverse’ neighborhoods. Let them duke it out. It’s a win-win situation.

    • Bossman

      Hispanics decided the last election. They like Barack Obama and he knows it.

      • NorthSea

        I read a few post-mortems on the election, and most “experts” feel that the election went south because of the lack of white working-class votes. It’s the “what’s the use” syndrome.

      • Game over. Insert another quarter and play again.

        The famous NYT sliding scale that shows that Romney would have needed an armageddon world-is-ending never-been-done-before astonishing figure of 73% of the Hispanic vote, (ceteris paribus), to win, is based on the inflated “10% of all voters were HIspanic” notion. In reality, Hispanics were only 8.4% of all voters. I think Romney could have gotten every Hispanic vote and he still would have lost. Then there’s the matter of ceteris paribus: In politics, ceteris paribus exists only on paper but never in the real world. Whatever Romney would have had to do to get more Hispanic votes, he would have lost far many more white votes.

        No, Romney didn’t win because he couldn’t get working and middle class whites outside the South to turn out for him in the margins that he needed.

        • MBlanc46

          I certainly haven’t analyzed the returns to the extent that you have, but your last sentence seems pretty reasonable. The Republicans needed a populist “guy you can have a beer with” but they nominated a clueless, Mormon multi-millionaire.

          • Unfortunately, Ross Perot was probably the last serious Presidential candidate who most people would enjoy having a beer with. Presidential campaigns are so expensive that you’re not likely to see such a populist personality nominated by a major party any time soon. Personally, it doesn’t bother me whether I think I’d like to have a beer with the candidate, or if I would personally like him or her, because I know that my chances of having a beer with a Presidential candidate or knowing a serious one well enough to make a determination of like or not like is very very very slim. All I care about is ideas and policy proposals.

          • MBlanc46

            The “having a beer” thing isn’t literally about “having a beer”. It’s about whether people get the sense that the politician has at least some sense that s/he grasps what ordinary people’s lives are like. The person doesn’t have to be ordinary or from an ordinary background, although that helps. Ideas and policy proposals are worth the paper they’re printed on. It’s a person that’s elected, not a platform, and the electorate would like to feel that the candidate will react to situations as they would react. Presidential candidates like that are rare. It’s all marketing and show business these days. It’s an open question whether we’ll ever have another candidate with that quality, and it probably doesn’t matter, because they either have to be extremely rich or have the financial support of the extremely rich to even be taken seriously.

          • dd121

            Populist Perot donated $60,000 to Democrat Roy Romer’s reelection campaign for governor. I felt completely played.

    • MBlanc46

      I wonder whether their economic situation will be much affected. Those who are not employed are largely unemployable. The competent ones ought to be able to hold their jobs and the affirmative action employees will continue to be affirmative action. The Mexicans aren’t going to compete with them for fast-food joints in the ghetto. Is there much more that the blacks have to lose, economically?

      • Evette Coutier

        I think they do. As the white middle class shrinks, and the illegals overall draw money from the system, less fund will be there to provide government assistance. As we turn into Greece……

        • MBlanc46

          Yes, overall economic decline will hurt blacks as much and perhaps more than anyone else. Stagnation or decline of wages will also hurt blacks as much or more than anyone else. But I do doubt that many blacks will lose their jobs to Mexicans for the reasons stated.

          • IstvanIN

            Look at Brazil’s favelas, when the government runs out of money to constantly move them into new section 8 apartments that is what is in store for them.

          • MBlanc46

            That might be what’s in store for all of us.

    • Ni123

      “It be nice for us if the Hispanics and blacks took care of each other for us.”

      There are no upsides, unfortunately. A path to citizenship will add millions to the numerous underclass. At least now being illegals mommies and daddies are not able to apply for freebies, only their children can qualify. Legalize them, and entire families will go on welfare. And when EBT/TCA/etc. dries out both Blacks and Hispanics will turn on us.

  • borogirl54

    The majority of Hispanics must have approved the number of deportations that he has done because they overwhelmingly voted for him.

  • Viking_61

    Obama’s actions are burying black Americans beneath an endless tidal wave of Mestizo, Asian and Arab overachievers.

    The funniest thing about comparing blacks to 21st Century American immigrants is realizing how much American blacks suck.

    • Bossman

      Blacks were imported by the millions to do menial agricultural work. These days they no longer want to do that because it reminds them too much of slavery. Most U.S. blacks males are almost unemployable.

      • jeffaral

        Under White supervision they used to be good workers on the plantation, as long as they were offered a good supply of watermelons and chicken wings.

      • Webspin

        Then how do you explain their not keeping their homes and cars in good condition as well? It’s clearly not a reminder of slavery!

  • Greg Thomas

    He’ll do it and nobody will stop him, just as he did with the “dreamers.”

  • jeffaral

    Some Republicans pretend they are against amnesty of 50 million (the real figure) illegals. Most Americans are so brainwashed by jewish Hollywood and jewish Christianity they just don’t care.

  • CharlesFinley

    ahhh yes, Barry Soetoro…the Ivy Leager, the jivey neeger…

    No one’s wiser than the groid organizer.

  • Webspin

    Funny how the government first states, “We’d deport the illegals but can’t possibly deport them all…” to ” We won’t deport the ones we do/can catch”. This latest just shows the the original statement was a lie and a smoke screen for their actual intentions.

    My question is why so many Americans are willing to tolerate this treasonous attitude from our leaders?

  • evilsandmich

    Marco Rubio can rot. If he really didn’t like what Prez Zero was up to he would be working as hard to denounce and work against him as he worked in favor of his stupid amnesty bill.

  • The Tank

    Personally I think the people in this country need to start pressing for the courts to issue a Writ of Mandamus to force the hand of the Treason in Chief, and the various executive components to carry out the already legally enforceable provisions of immigration law. The Constitutional Right to equity under the application of the law is more than enough cause to make an argument to the courts.

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    This country goes further down the toilet every day and an amnesty will be the final, irreversible flush that will permanently destroy America.

    • IstvanIN

      Already hispanic children are 1 in 4 of the nations kids.