Kudos to Obama on Immigration Change

by Michael Sean Winters

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Last week, the Obama administration proposed to change the means by which undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens get a waiver from the rule that imposes a ten-year penalty on those who entered the country illegally. Currrently, the waiver must be applied for abroad and the waiting time to receive can run for months. (90 percent of the waiver applications are granted.) The rule change would allow undocumented spouses or children to apply for the waiver here in the U.S., cutting down the amount of time needed to return to the country from which the person emigrated from months to days.

The change is humane and should be endorsed by everyone. Keeping families together would be precisely the kind of thing you would think would appeal to pro-family Republicans. Cong. Lamar Smith, chait of the House Judiciary Committee, however, took a moment from repeating the GOP's refrain that the President is engaged in "class warfare" to say this about the change: “Who is the president batting for — illegal immigrants or the American people?” Nice.

I hope that at the next GOP debate, one of the enterprising journalists will think to ask Mr. Catholic Rick Santorum what he thinks of the new rule. As Paul Moses writes at Commonweal, Santorum's position on immigration is a far cry from the espoused by Pope Benedict XVI and the U.S. bishops.

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