Illegal immigration activists suffered a severe setback on Thursday as the Obama administration admitted that it did not have the authority to pardon illegal immigrants.
“The president takes the executive clemency power seriously. As a general matter, we do not comment on the likelihood of whether a specific pardon may be granted, should one be requested,” a White House official said. “We note that the clemency power could not give legal status to any undocumented individual.”
In plain terms, the President of the United States cannot make someone a citizen of the United States by pardoning them of illegally entering the country or overstaying their visas. That would erase the crime, but the day afterward, they would still be in the country illegally and not a citizen.
The statement came as a response to Democrats begging President Obama to do anything possible to prevent the deportation of so-called DREAMers and other illegal aliens.
As Obama was unable to work with Congress to pass any form of amnesty, he chose to do so by executive order which will likely be undone in the opening days of a Trump presidency.