Washington, DC; January 24, 2016: Up to 87 percent of undocumented immigrants would be able to remain in the US if the executive action measures on immigration taken by President Barack Obama are implemented without modifications, according to a study. The report published by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) recently said that the net effect of the new policies will see a reduction in deportations from the US.
The MPI study says that the Department of Homeland Security will focus on deporting immigrants who are considered to be a public threat, who have been convicted of serious crimes, who have violated deportation orders or have recently entered the country.
The authors of the report estimate that about 13 percent of the 11 million undocumented foreigners living in the US, or some 1.4 million people, will fall within these categories, making them the priority targets for deportations after the new regulations come into effect.
In 2012, the US government launched the deferred action programme that gave immigrants who have grown up in this country permission to stay here and work, and that measure was broadened last February to include a larger number of young people, as well as the parents of children born in this country.
These two expansions of the program are currently on hold by order of a federal judge in Texas due to a lawsuit presented by more than two dozen states and the resolution of the matter in an appeals court is being awaited.
In all, 5.2 million immigrants would benefit from these immigration relief measures, but the MPI said that the implementation of new guidelines for law enforcement and immigration authorities would broaden the number of people who would benefit to 9.6 million. It could bring the number of annual expulsions down to historic minimums.
According to the MPI, deportations would be reduced by 25,000 each year, falling under 100,000. A record number of people were deported in 2011, with 180,000 immigrants, who had committed crimes, being expelled. Republicans in the House and the Senate, as well as Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, are working on bills to compel closer cooperation between federal and local authorities.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued new guidelines focusing enforcement agents on three deportation priorities, with the top one including national security threats, gang members, convicted felons and recent border crossers. The other priorities include repeat offenders with lesser crimes and people who entered the United States illegally or were ordered deported after Jan. 1, 2014.
Under the Priority Enforcement Program, federal agents will generally ask the police to notify them only if an immigrant fitting the new priorities was about to be released. In limited cases, agents can ask the police to detain an immigrant for 48 hours but only if they provide probable cause.
The Migration Policy Institute’s estimates may hearten immigrant advocates, who have pressed the administration to give some protection to unauthorized immigrants since legislation offering them legal status died in Congress last year.