The numbers on the Obama conditional amnesty for young illegal aliens keep rising. Today's New York Times guesses an eligible population of 1.7 million, and the shape of the problem promises administrative chaos.
This weekend, the small offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, a nonprofit group, were jammed with people seeking information about the program. Despite the baking heat, the lines stretched out the front door, to the end of a long city block. Similar crowds have flocked to immigrant and student organizations in other states for advice.
The program, which grants two-year deportation deferrals and work permits to illegal immigrants brought here as children, creates a herculean job for the federal agency in charge United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Agency officials are expecting the biggest load of paperwork in the shortest amount of time for a new program since 1986, when more than three million immigrants who were here illegally became legal residents under an amnesty.
Because deferrals are temporary and must be renewed after two years — when Mr. Obama may no longer occupy the White House — administration officials have been uncertain how many illegal immigrants would come forward to apply.
When the two year suspension ends, what happens next? Except as a prelude to indefinite extensions leading ultimately to permanent residency, the Obama program creates a huge paperwork project for no particular long-term purpose.