Despite Monday’s unfortunate Supreme Court ruling that allows Arizona, at least for now, to go forward with state-mandated immigrant-hunting and racial profiling, there is reason to believe that the tide is turning on the Arizona approach to immigration policies (replicated in Georgia, Alabama and several other states).
Just days before the court ruling, undocumented students pushed the president to announce a new Department of Homeland Security policy potentially offering DREAM-eligible students work permits instead of deportation to countries many of them have never known.
No doubt it was the threat of embarrassment to the president that finally led Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to codify what was common knowledge — that immigrant communities deserve relief from the threat of deportation. The new policy counteracts previous administration claims about DHS’ limited ability to act. It demonstrates that Napolitano has had the authority to relieve suffering all along. Her refusal to do so earlier or do more now shows that only pressure from organized and undocumented communities makes the difference.