Grassroots Concern Over Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants

By Nicholas Ballasy | August 25, 2010 | 3:03 PM EDT

( -   A group of conservative organizations announced they have written a letter to President Barack Obama in opposition to his administration’s alleged plan to legalize significant numbers of undocumented immigrants without an act of Congress.  

The idea was outlined in a Homeland Security Department memo addressed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services obtained by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that says, "The following options – used alone or in combination – have the potential to result in meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action."   

“This memorandum shows at least a consideration of an option to end run Congress and to arrogate power to the executive branch for something that really ought to be Congressional responsibility and use administrative powers to grant defacto amnesty to certain classes of illegal immigrants – that’s there,” Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring told after the press conference on Monday.   “It’s in black and white. It has been disclosed. It has not been adopted. It is not official policy and it is our hope that by shining the light of public opinion, shining daylight if you will on this, that it will produce a strong enough public reaction that it will now never be attempted seriously.”  

Among the options mentioned in the memo that could be used to legalize many undocumented immigrants without “legislative action” is to allow Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicants who entered the United States “without inspection to adjust or change status.”  

“We know that the President wants to give permanent residency and permanent jobs to all illegal aliens. He has said that repeatedly but we also know that the leadership in the Congress, the Democratic leadership feels that if they had a vote, it would hurt many Democrats in their elections this fall,” said Roy Beck, President of NumbersUSA who signed on to the letter to President Obama.  

“So, the idea is how do you keep as many illegal aliens as possible in this country over the next year or two without having to make Congress vote on it? So, this memo pops up and it says this is actually how you could do it and what we’re doing is saying look, you know, maybe technically you could try to get by with this but it’s an abuse of power, you actually would be doing something that only belongs to Congress to do and that’s really our argument.”  

Sen. Chuck Grassley, who obtained the memo entitled, "Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform” said it is designed to “find very secret creative ways to unilaterally circumvent the law and have a backdoor to amnesty.”   

The letter to the President signed by 18 conservative groups says, “If there is to be further debate on immigration policy, it rightfully should take place in the legislative branch. Misusing what is supposed to be limited, extraordinary-individual-case discretion to achieve what is tantamount to major policy changes is not legitimate.”  

The President of the conservative organization Judicial Watch, another group who signed on to the letter, said if the message from the Obama administration through the memo is that they are going to relax immigration enforcement, it could lead to more illegal crossings at the border.  

“We have records that show that the Mexican government in 2004 actively told the citizens that the Bush administration was going to offer an amnesty. It resulted in a huge spike in illegal crossings,” said Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch.

“If the message from the Obama administration is we’re going to loosen or relax certain regulatory standards for immigration enforcement, that message is heard overseas and those people listening to that are hearing the message. They don’t understand the particulars of how our policy works necessarily. They just hear amnesty, Obama and they come.”