The AP has the scoop of the day on an exceedingly important development in the presidential race.
The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.
The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was to announce the new policy Friday, one week before President Barack Obama plans to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' annual conference in Orlando, Fla.
Obviously, politics are written all over this.
The immediate question is whether he can actually do this without Congressional approval, but the the follow-up question is whether that even matters.
The mere proposal itself is the kind of carrot that might officially lock down his huge margins with Latino voters. And it's not just about margins, it's also about enthusiasm. This could be the spark to get Hispanics to the polls in the numbers Obama needs to win Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and other Latino-heavy states.
UPDATE: Quite a few people have noted that the specs look very similar to the rough outlines of Marco Rubio's alternate Dream Act.
That's a big-time co-opt that could threaten every last sound wave of Rubio's thunder.