Obama administration eases rules to allow illegal immigrants to apply for legal status

The Obama administration today announced a move that will make it easier for illegal immigrants to remain in the country while their applications for legal status are processed. It’s the sort of policy that appeals to those who’ve heard heartbreaking stories of familial separation related to illegal immigration — and to voters Obama knows he needs. From The Washington Times:

The Obama administration on Friday proposed new hardship rules that would make it easier for illegal immigrants to apply for legal status and stay in the country if they have a spouse or parent already living here legally. …

Homeland Security officials, who announced the change in the Federal Register, said the change only applies when an illegal immigrant has a family member living in the U.S. legally and who would be subject to “hardship” if they were separated from each other.

Under the current system, it takes an average of six months for the government to judge waiver cases, and illegal immigrant applicants are required to go home during that period. The new rule means the illegal immigrant can stay in the U.S. during the adjudication period.

Townhall.com’s Erika Johnsen puts this politically-motivated move into perspective:

In looking over their campaign portfolio for recent presidential-victory pitches, the Obama camp must’ve lately realized that they don’t have too much to tout. Hence, it appears that they’re stepping it up with the executive fiat so they can keep sticking it to those darn obstructionist Republicans. Earlier this week, Obama made “bold” “recess”-appointments to the NLRB and CFPB, in an attempt to appeal to big labor and the ‘middle class’; and announced his plans to implement defense cuts with a military restructuring, so he can appeal to the liberal base clamoring for cuts in defense spending instead of addressing entitlement spending, and act like he gives a hoot about the mounting deficit at the same time. But, of course, he’d be remiss if he didn’t have a giftwrapped talking point to present to Latino voters, too.

As with Obama’s announcement of thousands of summer jobs, though, this pitch sounds better than it is. The surging Rick Santorum has ably made the point before: It shouldn’t be easier to immigrate here illegally than it is to immigrate here legally.