White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe on Sunday defended President Obama’s call for selective enforcement of immigration laws, a move that some Republicans have criticized as “backdoor amnesty.”
“What the president was speaking about is he couldn’t through executive order essentially establish the Dream Act. And that’s not what we did this week,” Mr. Plouffe said in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
“You know, our attorneys — the homeland security attorneys — are absolutely confident this is within our authority, to use some discretion. And this builds on a series of steps we’ve taken to try and make sure that we’re focusing on tougher border security, that we are deporting criminals, people who pose a threat to our community, not people who are just trying to live the American dream.”
Mr. Plouffe said the White House sees the president’s plan, which would provide a path to legal status for young illegals who serve in the military or who are studying in high school or in college, is a temporary measure.
“This is not a permanent fix,” he said. “This, for a two-year period, allows people to try and apply for work authorization. All of those applications will be reviewed. But we need Congress to act here.”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican who has been one of the most vocal critics of President Obama’s immigration policies, responded quickly to Mr. Obama’s Friday announcement, calling it “backdoor amnesty.”