As many of us are slowly (and sadly) coming to terms with the fact that President Barack Obama has almost completed his final term in the White House, some are making final requests of America’s much-loved President.
One of the people who still think Obama can save America from Trump is retired MIT linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, who recently posted a plea to Obama to save undocumented immigrants from the incoming Trump administration. In a video message, Chomsky said:
“President Obama, to his credit, has issued personal pardons in deserving cases, but he should go far beyond.”
Chomsky was referring to Obama’s actions on December 19th, when he pardoned 78 people and gave 153 prisoners shorter sentences – all of which were non-violent, low-level drug offenders. During his presidency, Obama has pardoned a staggering 1,000 individuals – but Chomsky urged the Commander in Chief to go further due to the looming threat of Trump. Chomsky said:
“He should proceed to what is, in fact, an urgent necessity, to grant a general pardon to 11 million people who are living and working [in America], productive citizens… threatened with deportation by the incoming administration.”
If Obama pardoned all those people, Trump’s promise to deport 2-3 million undocumented immigrants would go out the window. And despite Trump’s flip-flopping on his immigration policies, Chomsky isn’t banking on the President-elect being sympathetic or understanding in the long run. Bashing Trump’s mass deportation scheme, Chomsky continued:
“This would be a horrible humanitarian tragedy. And moral outrage can be averted by a general pardon for immigration infractions which the President could issue.”
Peter L. Markowitz, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, has confirmed that this is actually possible. A few months ago, Markowitz stated:
“President Obama can still act to bring humanity and justice to an immigration system notoriously lacking in both. He can do so by using the power the Constitution grants him — and only him — to pardon individuals for ‘offenses against the United States.'”
“It’s a common assumption that pardons can be used only for criminal offenses, and it’s true that they have not been used before for civil immigration violations. However, the Constitution extends the power to all ‘offenses against the United States,’ which can be interpreted more broadly than just criminal offenses.”
Chomsky said he hoped that Obama would listen to his plea and protect those who were vulnerable and in danger of Trump’s divisive rhetoric, and urged his viewers to join him. Chomsky begged:
“We should join to urge [President Obama] to carry out this necessary step without delay.”
You can listen to Chomsky make his plea on behalf of undocumented immigrants below:
If Obama does this…Trump can kiss all of his anti-immigration promises goodbye and will have to suffer the wrath of his racist supporters.
Featured image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images