The Monthly Immigration Report: Glastris on McLaughlin, Verini on Deportation

The Monthly has a long tradition of being far ahead of the reporting curve, sometimes dramatically so (as when we ran a cover story on the housing bubble in April 2004). Our May/June cover story, on Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and the influence of Latino voters, was therefore somewhat out of character. It was so exquisitely well-timed with respect to President Obama’s immigration announcement, one suspects we had some kind of divine intervention.

In any case, we’ve been keeping on the immigration beat. Monthly editor-in-chief Paul Glastris was on the McLaughlin Group last weekend, where the subject was immigration policy:

Furthermore, today we’ve got a piece by James Verini digging into the details and the human stories of the president’s enforcement heavy immigration policy, backlash against which largely inspired the recent announcement. Here’s a taste:

On June 15, President Barack Obama announced an executive decision halting deportations of people who, like Juan, were brought across the border illegally when they were minors and hence bear little personal responsibility for their undocumented status. Nearly a million people could benefit from the new policy, which has been hailed not only as a bold humanitarian move, but a shrewd political one as well. Obama won 67 percent of the Latino vote in 2008, and in what some political analysts believe will be an extremely tight race, he’s going to need a similar or larger share to beat Mitt Romney this year.

Obama’s executive order comes with a few conditions: to be eligible for the deportation reprieve, an undocumented immigrant must, among other things, be under the age of thirty and have a clean criminal record. That leaves out Juan and hundreds of thousands of others like him—so-called criminal aliens, many of them with offenses as minor as Juan’s or even more minor, who will be deported.

In fact, the executive order was in some ways a politically necessary concession to Latinos who have been outraged by the administration’s immigration policies until now. Before the order, Obama’s program has focused almost exclusively on enforcement—last year Immigration and Customs Enforcement saw to just short of 400,000 deportations, or more than a thousand people every day. ICE says that’s an all-time record. Many Latinos and immigration rights advocates, however, call it a catastrophe.

It’s a great piece, and well worth a read. Check it out!

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is national correspondent for the Week, and a former web editor for the Washington Monthly.