NRO: Memo circulating on Capitol Hill shows how Obama might legalize some illegals without Congress

I was skeptical about this when the rumors first started floating around last month. Turns out they were true — you can read the memo for yourself — but I’m more skeptical than ever that The One will act on it. Follow the first link and re-read that post to see why; all of the logic still applies, possibly more so now than it did then. Like I said yesterday, with each new day of legal wrangling between the feds and Arizona, the perception among voters deepens that Obama and his team are more concerned with protecting illegals than with enforcing American law. That’s politically disastrous, and would be doubly disastrous if he really did follow through on something as nutty as amnestizing some segment of the illegal population by executive order. Which of course explains why the memo’s being leaked to National Review: It’s electoral gold for the GOP and everyone involved knows it.

According to an internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services memo going the rounds of Capitol Hill and obtained by National Review, the agency is considering ways in which it could enact “meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action” — that is, without the consent of the American people through a vote in Congress…

Perhaps the most egregious suggestion is to “Increase the Use of Deferred Action.” “Deferred action,” as the memo defines it, “is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion not to pursue removal from the U.S. of a particular individual for a specific period of time.” For example, after Hurricane Katrina, the government decided not to remove illegal immigrants who’d been affected by the disaster.

The memo claims that there are no limits to USCIS’s ability to use deferred action, but warns that using this power indiscriminately would be “controversial, not to mention expensive.” The memo suggests using deferred action to exempt “particular groups” from removal — such as the illegal-immigrant high-school graduates who would fall under the DREAM Act (a measure that has been shot down repeatedly in Congress). The memo claims that the DREAM Act would cover “an estimated 50,000” individuals, though as many as 65,000 illegal immigrants graduate high school every year in the U.S.

Scroll down to the next-to-last page of the memo for the section on “Deferred Action.” The only reason Obama would do this is to atone partially to Latinos for failing miserably on his promise of immigration reform, but I think the anger it would generate among righties and independents — especially given the Dems’ track record of pushing through policies by executive fiat or in the face of intense public opposition — would eclipse any surge in support among Latinos. The best thing the left can do at this point to mitigate losses in November is to let the public go back to sleep and hope that voter enthusiasm dips a bit among their opponents. This would achieve the opposite. If he’s planning on doing this, my hunch is that he’ll do it on a small-ish scale with a select group of illegals (maybe the DREAM Act eligibles) fairly quickly after the election so that the public will have time to cool off about it before 2012, when he can use it to goose Latino support for his own reelection bid. Exit question: Is eeyore being too optimistic for once?

Update: He’s already playing with too much electoral fire to light another match.

A Fox News poll released Thursday finds that if Americans were heading to the voting booth today, they would back the Republican candidate in their district over the Democrat by 47-36 percent. Two weeks ago the Republicans had a slimmer 4-point advantage (41-37 percent).

As has been the case all year, Republicans continue to be more interested in the upcoming election. Thirty-six percent of Republicans are “extremely” interested compared to 23 percent of Democrats.