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A wise discretion with immigration

Regarding Charles Krauthammer’s June 22 op-ed column, “Naked lawlessness”:

President Obama’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion to defer the deportation of promising young undocumented immigrants is smart enforcement, not, as Mr. Krauthammer claimed, “amnesty by fiat.”

Mr. Obama’s policy allows the administration to focus its resources on the removal of dangerous criminals and national security risks. And that is much smarter than punishing young people who find themselves stuck in immigration limbo.

The president is doing exactly what he is supposed to do as commander in chief — protect America.

To claim, as Mr. Krauthammer does, that the president has rewritten the immigration law is ridiculous. All law enforcement agencies have the authority to decide whom to investigate, arrest, detain, charge and prosecute. As the Supreme Court noted this week in Arizona vs. U.S., “The equities of an individual case may turn on many factors, including whether the alien has children born in the United States, long ties to the community, or a record of distinguished military service.”

Nor, as Mr. Krauthammer claimed, is prosecutorial discretion reserved for the most extreme and extenuating circumstances. As the Supreme Court recognized, some “discretionary decisions involve policy choices.” The fact is, categorical reprieves from deportation have been used by presidents of both political parties to protect broad groups of immigrants.

David Leopold, Washington

The writer is counsel and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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