Last night, Thursday August 18, the Obama administration announced implementation of a new legislation, allowing a case-by-case review of deportations, and ultimately allowing many undocumented immigrants without criminal backgrounds to stay in America and apply for work.
This is a BIG deal.
The new policy involves many changes, short-term and long-term, and will modify the current immigration system to deal with the serious cases instead of focusing on many of the low-priority ones.
For young immigrants facing harsh setbacks from the currently un-passed DREAM Act, as well as children who were brought here illegally by their parents, the future may be one of legally working and attending university here in the U.S.
This shows not only a huge modification in immigration reform, something the Obama administration has been facing harsh criticism for since his election, but this also shows that congress can actually respond effectively to what the people, and youth, of America want, despite their recent unpopularity.
Since taking office, the Obama administration has been enforcing one of the most aggressive immigration policies, deporting over 400,000 people per year, more than the Bush administration ever did. The majority of those deported were those who posed little to no harm and had no criminal records. This change in direction will most likely help those who may have entered illegally, yet don’t pose a threat to national security and want to stay.
If fully implemented, this will change many young people’s lives, allowing those who want to stay here to have a chance at making a life in America. The administration and federal authorities will review 300,000 deportation cases for many presently in court proceedings, and allow many of them to remain living here and apply for a work permit. This will allow immigration judges to focus on those convicted of felonies or who pose a threat. And many say Obama’s new idea will also decrease the amount of resources currently used on deportation.
Nothing is guaranteed, however. Because it will be done on a case by case basis, even those granted access to stay and apply for work permits doesn’t necessarily mean they will receive benefits or can rely on having a definitive status.
Although supporters of immigration reform and those for the passing of the DREAM Act feel victory, and that this is a step in the right direction, many Republicans and right-wing conservatives have already begun an uproar. With states like Alabama recently attempting to pass state laws to implement their own, harsh deportation policies, and the Republican-controlled congress constantly fighting any new bill the Democrats try to pass, the fight will no doubt continue.
Many are applauding Obama for standing up and making a real effort to stick to what he promised in 2008. This could very well be the Obama many people have been waiting to see and could help his re-election campaign in the upcoming year.
What do you think of Obama’s decision, will it help him in 2012 or will it be a downfall?