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In reality, the president does not possess this authority, as unauthorized presence in the U.S. is a civil violation, not a criminal one. Presidential pardon power only applies to federal crimes, described as “offenses against the United States” in the Constitution. As such, “a pardon can’t make someone a citizen or lawful resident,” explains John Harrison, a law professor at the University of Virginia. “Deportation is not a criminal proceeding, it’s a civil process that removes from the country someone who is not entitled to be here.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/no-obama-cant-grant-amnesty-by-pardoning-illegal-immigrants/2011/12/06/gIQA5S53ZO_blog.html

By Suzy Khimm -- Washington Post

Illegal Immigration
amnesty

Updated: Wed, Dec 7th 2011 @ 1:52pm EST