The president’s “tailored” decree would cover up to 1.4 million people, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, and not the 50,000 that advocates had been falsely claiming. Having gotten away with this, the White House may well be thinking it can get away with “a larger registration program that reaches the entire legalization population,” in the words of a February 2010 memo also exploring administrative amnesty options.
But the White House might figure that, even with Congress’s track record of supine compliance, simply extending the “deferred action” approach to millions more illegals could be politically problematic…
Even more comprehensive than TPS would be a grant of asylum to illegal immigrants. Asylum isn’t even nominally temporary; after one year, recipients can get a green card, and eventually they could be given citizenship. Asylum is granted based on persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” It is the fourth criterion in this list — membership in a particular social group — that is most amenable to the administrative amnesty approach. Originally conceived as covering kulaks and aristocrats fleeing Communism, it has been expanded to include women who don’t like the strictures of traditional societies, homosexuals, the handicapped, and others. Expanding “particular social group” to include, say, all those from Mexico or Central America who fear cartel violence could be another vehicle to provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
The president has administrative tools at his disposal to give amnesty to virtually all illegal aliens without involvement from Congress, despite the Constitution’s requirement that he “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”