Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Homeland Security | Immigration | Steve Malzberg Show | barack obama | immigration

DREAM Act Advocate: Obama Executive Amnesty 'Pretty Conservative'

By    |   Friday, 27 February 2015 05:48 PM

The president whose immigration policies are under fire from courts and Congress could, and should, have taken more sweeping action than he did last November with his executive order benefitting millions of undocumented immigrants, says DREAM Action Center co-founder Cesar Vargas.

"I am comfortable with the president's actions and in fact, it was actually pretty conservative," Vargas, himself an undocumented immigrant, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Friday. "He could've done more than what he actually did."

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Some attendees at the president's immigration town hall on Wednesday in Miami told Obama as much, said Vargas, who was there.

"The attitude [of the town hall] was about making sure that the president listened to the stories of people who would benefit from the president's executive action," he said, "but also to the stories of the people who were left behind from the president's executive action, and to push him to do more."

Vargas described many in the audience as belonging to "American families that are going through a broken immigration system."

One participant told Obama that his mother, a Mexican national, is under threat of deportation despite the fact that he is a U.S. Army combat veteran injured in Afghanistan.

Obama, for his part, told the audience that he would veto any bill Congress sends him that repeals his executive order on immigration.

The president sparked a political and legal battle in November when he directed immigration officials to begin issuing work permits and visas to certain categories of non-residents who came here without permission — a move that immediately shielded almost half of the country's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Congress has responded by attempting to strip the Department of Homeland Services of funding to carry out the president's decree, bringing DHS to the brink of a shutdown.

Meanwhile, 25 states suing the president over his unilateral immigration overhaul persuaded a federal judge in Texas this month to halt the entire program.

Vargas is one of the people whose future might hinge on the outcome of these challenges — an undocumented U.S. resident since arriving in New York from Mexico at age five, and a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law who cannot practice law because of his status.

He is a beneficiary of the president's 2012 order deferring deportation for children brought here illegally by adult guardians — a kind of executive manifestation of the DREAM Act legislation introduced in 2001 by senators Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch.

Vargas acknowledged that "we definitely have a legal debate" and "lawyers from both sides" arguing whether or not the president acted lawfully or exceeded his authority under the Constitution and in essence made new law, which only Congress is permitted to do.

The president himself said on multiple occasions that he lacked the very authority he would go on to exercise in November. But Vargas argued that Obama is on firm legal ground and that "we can't wait for a broken Congress to act."

Vargas also doubted that the current dispute will harm the chances for a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform package approved by Congress and signed into law by the White House.

"There's definitely a lot of great Republicans who do want to be able to fix immigration reform," said Vargas.

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The president whose immigration policies are under fire from courts and Congress could, and should, have taken more sweeping action than he did last November with his executive order benefitting millions...
barack obama, immigration, illegals, dhs, funding, executive, orders
Friday, 27 February 2015 05:48 PM
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