Its been occurring ever since the President realized the public had no appetite for illegal alien legislation, and he decided, instead, to launch a covert end-run around Congress using administrative actions to piecemeal what he can’t do all at once in a big amnesty bill.

For the past two years, a steady stream of leaked memos reveal how the administration has expanded its amnesty-granting powers. The title of one United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) memo says it all, Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  Not surprisingly, the memo suggests ways the government can delay or even prevent the removal of illegal aliens.

The early memos written by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton suggest granting relief to select aliens on a case-by-case basis; later memos detail large classes of deportable aliens for whom the law should be waived.  The most recent memo grants broad prosecutorial discretion to ICE field agents and attorneys urging them not to bother with illegal aliens who are young, have been here a long time or who are students –  in other words, would-be beneficiaries of the DREAM Act legislation which died in December and which has little hope of being revived.

By stipulating that large classes of illegal aliens are to be exempt from enforcement, ICE is conferring power upon itself.  It’s Congress’s job to make laws and define an agency’s role.  It is the job of ICE to carry out the laws Congress enacted regarding immigration enforcement.