It is an appropriate use of discretion to prioritize the removal of aliens who present threats to national security, public safety, or border security instead of focusing on grandma. This makes sense as an appropriate use of resources.
And since this is an appropriate use of discretion, DHS's proposed deferred action program for parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, aka to "Reaganize" them in line with past precedent would also be a permissible exercise of DHS’s discretion in enforcing the immigration laws.
Should congress pass a law mandating and funding mass deportations, then the above prioritization policy would be changed to include a crackdown on grandma as well as those who present threats to national security, public safety, or border security.
So that's it in a nutshell.
Which brings us to the inevitable FREAK out from the usual suspects. While I have not looked at the wingnet yet, I am sure that it is very angry. And I am also sure that one of the outrages will focus on the "Take Care" clause impeachment argument that is popular in certain darker corners of the wingnet.
Under the "Take Care" impeachment argument, the President is basically omnipotent. He is responsible for ensuring that 100% of federal regulations are being complied with at all times - which is impossible. This means that he is not allowed any discretion in enforcing these requirements. This inevitably means, according to the winget, that whenever there are not resources to enforce a rule and the president has not prioritized this thing or that thing, he is violating his duty to "Take Care" to ensure that the laws of the nation are enforced. Its a really fun argument!
Imagine how this would play out during a Republican Presidency. As a thought experiment try imagining this. Say an employee working at hypothetical Moch Brother Industries slips and falls during shift. It is subsequently discovered that other people also have slipped and fallen during shifts at Moch Brothers. A pattern is established.
An angry partisan writes a Blog post:
"Where is OSHA? When was the last time Moch Brothers was inspected. Why hasn't the President ordered OSHA into Moch Brothers to put a stop to all this stuff? How many people must be injured before anything is done. Why has the President not shut Moch Brothers down. OSHA is the law. I want the law enforced. Why won't the President "Take Care" to enforce all the laws. Is he a tyrant? If we can't trust him to protect workers and enforce OSHA what can we trust him to do. NOTHING! These "Take Care" violations cannot be tolerated. I want him impeached."And on and on and on.
Now this is a little extreme. But the next mine accident will occur. Unfortunately when this happens Mine Safety and Health Administration will be under funded. It will also be headed by former Mining Executive or Mining Lobbyist. We will learn that MSHA did not adequately inspect the mine because it is underfunded - not because the MSHA Department head is an asshole.
Subsequently we will find out that the mine has a history of either borderline compliance or non-compliance and that everyone basically knew it was only matter of time before there was an accident. And of course since this is how things work out, the head of MSHA will be on record as opposing goddammed regulatory dictates from Washington because "mine owners know what's best for their workers, the community and the environment."
That's when the "take care" game that the wingnet has taught us would start up and you get to blame the systematic lack of resources for mine safety on the President.
What did he know? When did he know it? Why didn't he do anything about it? Seems to me that Republicans must not like working folks very much, because if the President had time to golf, he should have had time to call MSHA and protected those workers...And on and on and on.
And so it goes.