Congressman Lamar Smith (R) of Texas is certainly an anti-immigration hawk and not at all a fan of Obama's recent decision to exercise prosecutorial discretion and grant deferred action to certain non-criminal Dream Act eligible kids. Obama's prosecutorial discretion is inconsistent with the "rule of law" he claims.
Well the Congressman did not always feel this way. In fact, in this letter, drafted in 1999 and signed by the same Congressman, he lamented on the fact that the administration (Clinton's) was deporting certain people who were even convicted of lower level aggravated felonies. The letter notes, "prosecutorial discretion is well established" and that "true hardship cases (even for those convicted of certain types of aggravated felonies), call for the use "of such discretion". This would certainly be a much more liberal "amnesty" than what Obama announced since Obama's announcement will most certainly NOT cover those convicted of ANY type of aggravated felony. In fact, the Napolitano Memorandum seemed to exclude those convicted of any felony, much less the much more serious designation of aggravated felony.
I'm not saying that people can't change their minds on a topic over time. However to suggest that Obama is granting "amnesty" in an extraordinary and unconstitutional manner ignores the fact that he is simply implementing what Republicans and Democrats alike both advocated. Immigration is a much more complicated matter than the "deport everybody" crowd would suggest. What this letter suggests is that once the vitriol clears, if it ever clears, then maybe a rational discussion over what is right and just may proceed on the issue of immigration. Immigration does not have to be a partisan issue. It certainly was not during the writing of that letter.
Maybe it can become that way again.