Obama's Surprising New Immigration Policy: Illegal Immigrants could stay and apply for work permit!
The White House announced on August 18 2011 that it would review the deportation cases of 300,000 illegal immigrants and might allow many of them to stay in the US and apply for work permit, a decision that angered immigration hard-liners and pleased Hispanic advocacy groups.
Those illegal immigrants who haven't committed crimes and who aren't considered a threat to public safety will have a chance to stay in the U.S. and to later apply for a work permit.
“There are more than 10 million people who are in the U.S. illegally; it’s clear that we can’t deport such a large number. So the Administration has developed a strategy to make sure we use those resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first", Cecilia Munoz, the White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, wrote on his blog.
In deciding who to deport, Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department will apply “common sense guidelines,” Munoz writes. She links to a June 17, 2011 memo written by John Morton, director of U.S. Custom and Immigration Enforcement, which spells out the sort guidelines that will be used.
In deciding whether to prosecute an individual, Morton writes, immigration officials should consider such factors as:
• the person’s length of presence in the United States;
• the circumstances of the person’s arrival in the United States, particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child;
• the person’s pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution;
• whether the person, or the person’s immediate relative, has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard;
• the person’s criminal history, including arrests, prior convictions, or outstanding arrest warrants;
• the person’s ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships;
• the person’s age, with particular consideration given to minors and the elderly;
• whether the person has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child, or parent;
• whether the person is the primary caretaker of a person with a mental or physical disability, minor, or seriously ill relative;
• whether the person or the person’s spouse is pregnant or nursing.
Morton cautions that the list of factors he provides is not exhaustive and that no one factor is determinative of whether a person will stay or go.
A senior administration official told WSJ that the new immigration policy is designed to make better use of limited immigration-enforcement resources and to help ease overburdened immigration courts. But a natural question that arises is whether immigration authorities, with their limited resources, will have the bandwidth to make the sort of case-by-case deportation determinations called for by the new policy.