Republicans have seized on the administration's shift on deportations -- nominally the same policy they've always had but one that's beginning to be reflected in what they're actually doing -- to argue that the administration is instituting "amnesty."
Republican leaders reacted to Mr. Obama’s new policy by stepping up their rejection of his approach. Representative Peter T. King of New York, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House, said the president was making “a blatant attempt to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal aliens in this country,” which he called “totally unacceptable.”
Republicans were saying this even when the president was deporting more undocumented immigrants than any president ever, and it's not any more true now. What is occurring here is that deportations are deferred--and while some will be granted work permits, it does not grant citizenship, which is by any fair evaluation, the definition of "amnesty" in this context. These people can still be deported if a Republican restrictionist is elected president in 2012, in fact, their already being in the system will make it easier to do so. These people are being granted a temporary reprieve, not permanent, unalterable legal status in the United States.