President Obama is ordering the feds to take it easy on illegal immigrants who don't break laws once they're in the country and focus instead on deporting those with criminal records, the Wall Street Journal reports. Officials will review each of the 300,000 deportation cases now in the works and proceed only with the high-priority ones. Those illegals deemed low priority, such as undocumented students, could get work permits, notes the Los Angeles Times. "The idea is to make sure that we are investing enforcement resources where they are best utilized," a White House official said.
The plan also benefits the approximately 11 million illegals who aren't in the deportation system, making them less likely to get ensared by it. Predictably, hardliners faced off against immigrant advocates over the policy decision. "In essence, the administration has declared that US immigration is now virtually unlimited to anyone willing to try to enter," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Law Forum, called the move a "step forward."