(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met in the Oval Office on Tuesday with three people who are in the country in violation of U.S. immigration laws but who have received “deferred action” allowing them to stay in the country under the terms of a "memorandum" issued unilaterally last year by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
While conceding that she had no legal authority to change the "immigration status" of illegal aliens or provide them with a "pathway to citizenship," Napolitano instructed the top officials at Customs and Border Protection, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use what she called "prosecutorial discretion" in not enforcing the immigration laws against certain classes of immigration lawbreakers.
These included illegal aliens who arrived in the United States before their sixteenth birthday, had graduated from high school or served in the military, had not been convicted of "significant" or "multiple" misdemeanors, and had not yet turned thirty.
Before Napolitano issued this unilateral order allowing the illegal aliens to remain in the country in violation of the law, President Obama's allies in Congress had failed to secure passage of the Dream Act, which would have allowed such persons to became legal residents in the United States.
In all, Obama and Biden met on Tuesday with eight people who are advocating immigration reform, according to White House readout of the meeting. The White House readout listed three of those as having received “deferred action.” Most others were legally in the United States with relatives who were illegal aliens.
A White House blog entry on the meeting included an official White House photograph of it that carried a caption describing some of the attendees as people "who have received Deferred Action and U.S. citizen family members of undocumented immigrants."
“At the meeting, the president reiterated his commitment to passing a bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform bill this year,” said the White House readout of the meeting. “He made clear that while the current bill is not perfect, it does represent an important step towards the broad principles that need to be part of any immigration reform package.”
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent an immigration bill to the full Senate. It includes what its supporters call a “pathway to citizenship,” and what its opponents call “amnesty.”“The President and the Vice President thanked participants for their leadership, courage and on-going efforts to move immigration reform legislation forward,” said the White House statement about the president's Tuesday meeting.
“The Dreamers shared how their lives have been positively affected by the deferred action process and emphasized that they and their families need a permanent solution that will allow them to fully contribute to the country they call home.”
The White House listed the following people as having participated:
- “Angie Kim. Angie is a South Korean immigrant who resides in New York, New York; she received deferred action.”
- “Kevin Lee. Kevin is a South Korean immigrant who received deferred action. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Both of his parents are undocumented.”
- “Justino Mora. Justino received deferred action; he currently resides in Los Angeles, California.”
- “Diana Colin. Diana is a legal permanent resident who currently resides in Los Angeles, California. One of her brothers received deferred action.”
- “Kate Kahan, Legislative Director, Center for Community Change. Kate is the Legislative Director for the Center for Community Change, a national social justice organization that is a member of the Alliance for Citizenship coalition in support of commonsense immigration reform.”
- “Miguel Leal. Miguel is a U.S. citizen who resides in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He is an Iraq war veteran. Miguel is an immigrant from Cuba; his wife in undocumented.”
- “Mehdi Mahraoui. Mehdi came to the United States from Morocco when he was 7 years old. He is a legal permanent resident and lives in New York, New York. His parents and his older sister remain undocumented.”
- “Melissa McGuire-Maniau. Melissa’s husband is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Melissa is a U.S. veteran; she and her husband reside in Winter Park, Florida.”
Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, said this shows disrespect for the law from the president who swore to uphold the laws of the United States.
"It’s staged to reinforce the one message that for this president is unambiguous – violating immigration laws now, in and of themselves, is just entirely inconsequential," Dane told CNSNews.com.
"The laws will not be enforced, and the public just needs to get used to it. Illegal aliens are here. They’re proud. They’re not going anywhere, and they can sit and stand anywhere they want, including the United States Capitol and the White House, and this president will bend the laws to suit their circumstances, and his political needs, with no regard whatsoever for American workers and taxpayers," he added.