Obama Has the Chance to Pardon Millions of Children Without Documentation. Will He?

“President Obama can still act to bring humanity and justice to an immigration system notoriously lacking in both.”

By Joy Diaz & Laura RiceDecember 1, 2016 4:05 pm| ,

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security launched a program giving more than 700,000 minors who entered the country without U.S. documentation exemption from deportation. To apply for the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), young people turned over identifying information – names, addresses and more.

Although he has earned the name “deporter in chief” for the deportation of more immigrants than any other President in U.S. history, Barack Obama has also attempted to defer deportation for many.

He sought to implement – through executive action – deferred deportation to parents who have children who are legal citizens or lawful permanent residents under Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals (DAPA). In that same executive action, he tried to expand DACA. But in 2016 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the 26 states – including Texas – who filed a suit claiming Obama misused the executive action to shape immigration policy, and the executive action was struck down.

Now, since the election of Donald Trump and his promises of mass deportation, lawmakers are imploring Obama to take action again to prevent the deportation of children in the U.S. without proper documentation.

Peter Markowitz is the director of the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic in New York. He wrote about whether Obama has the power to pardon millions of people without proper U.S. documentation for the New York Times.

“President Obama can still act to bring humanity and justice to an immigration system notoriously lacking in both,” Markowitz wrote. “He can do so by using the power the Constitution grants him — and only him — to pardon individuals for ‘offenses against the United States.’”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Could Obama legally pardon minors who may be in the United States illegally?

– What would happen to people’s immigration status if they are pardoned?