Lawyers who represent illegal immigrants, meanwhile, say the record on Obama's new immigration policy indicates it's not working as his administration said it would – despite high-profile cases such as Daniela's. The percentages of people being deported for criminal reasons have decreased, they note, while deportations for those with simple immigration violations have inched up in recent months.
The prosecutorial discretion memo “is being ignored, and I believe in the vast majority of cases, not a single favorable exercise of the memo has not involved a major news story,” says Matthew Kolken, an outspoken immigration attorney in Buffalo, N.Y.
While Obama has received flak from Hispanic groups for the record numbers of deportations he has overseen as president, he continues to enjoy support of Hispanic likely voters by a 69-to-20 percent margin over his Republican presidential challenges, according to a Fox News poll.
The administration's decision to defer Daniela's deportation had the support of some Republicans officials, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida. But such high-profile shows of bureaucratic compassion, political analysts say, are intended for the consumption of Hispanic voters, an increasingly important bloc in 2012 battleground states like Florida.
“If there's going to be any easing or relaxing of federal enforcement, this would be the time to do it,” ahead of the election, says Richard Fording, a political science professor at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa.
The administration said this week it is rolling out its new deportation policy, which is aimed primarily at “criminal aliens,” and is starting to review other deportation cases involving individuals who were brought to the US as children, and thus were not accomplices to breaking immigration law.