President Obama dealt a hard blow to illegal immigrant amnesty advocates when it was announced he would not use his pardon power to protect them from deportation by the Trump administration.
During a podcast interview with the Center for Migration Studies published Tuesday, Cecilia Munoz, who serves as the White House domestic policy council director, said issuing pardons is “not an answer here.”
“I know people are hoping that pardon authority is a way to protect people,” she said. “It’s ultimately not, for a couple reasons. One is that pardon authority is generally designed for criminal violations, not civil. But also it doesn’t confer legal status. Only Congress can do that. So ultimately, it wouldn’t protect a single soul from deportation.”
One of those people is Illinois Dem. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez who pleaded with the administration to pardon illegal aliens earlier this month at a press conference.
“We are asking the president to pardon them for their undocumented status,” he said at the time, according to the Washington Times.. “This would not give them a permanent safe place, but it is a start.”
Munoz lamented the fact that the Obama administration had not done more to keep illegals in the U.S. but blamed both conservatives against amnesty and liberals who wanted too much, for action not being taken.
“I worry that on both sides of the immigration debate, emotion gets in the way of sound thinking with respect to what are the problems that we can fix. And on both sides of the debate, I think, the degree of emotion can interfere with just making good policy judgments and good strategic judgments,” Munoz said.
She particularly struck out at those on the left who got in the way of a bill that passed the Senate in 2013 but, before the House could vote on it, amnesty advocates demanded the president do more.
“They got frustrated with Congress and insisted that the president could just fix it himself. That happened at a time when a little pressure on Congress could have been really useful. And they were just [let] completely off the hook,” she said.
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