Why Immigration Issues Are Complicated

In this week’s Capital Commentary from the Center for Public Justice, Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, associate professor/chair of political science, addresses the complexities of immigration reform policies. In her article, “Prosecutorial Discretion on Illegal Immigration: Prudent or Punting?” she explores both the current administration strategies as well as responses from the Christian community:

By Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, April 20, 2012

“In the past year, the Obama administration has chosen to focus its immigration enforcement resources on the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants with criminal histories, while at the same time exercising discretion and often showing leniency toward lower-risk undocumented immigrants (e.g., those who’ve been in the US for a long time, who’ve served in the US military, minors and the elderly, etc). Previous administrations have exercised similar discretion; what’s novel is that, whereas prior administrations focused solely on prospective cases, namely whom to detain, this administration also requires the revisiting of cases already under review

A number of Christian organizations have responded positively, among them the National Association of Evangelicals, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. They commend this administration for taking what they see to be prudent action making the best use of limited resources. It is an approach that, as Samuel Rodriguez of the NHCLC claims, ‘reconciles the notion of compassion with the rule of law.’ Hard-line conservatives have, unsurprisingly, been far more critical. They have characterized the Obama administration’s embrace of prosecutorial discretion as a kind of amnesty through the backdoor and an attempt to curry favor with Latino voters in an election season.” Read her entire essay here.

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