Contributed by Koby Polaski, Senior Attorney
President Obama plans to announce as soon as this week a broad overhaul of the United States immigration system that will reach up to five million undocumented immigrants. Major news sources report that President Obama will use the full force of his executive power to implement a plan with a broad scope, reaching everyone from undocumented immigrants facing deportation to legal immigrants in technology fields.
One of the most far-reaching components of the plan would allow parents of children who are American citizens or lawful permanent residents to obtain work authorization and protection from deportation. The remaining parts would provide clear guidance on enforcement priorities – directing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to focus enforcement resources on those with no family ties to the United States and serious criminal histories; expand opportunities for immigrants in technology fields; and provide protections for farm workers who have been employed for a to-be-determined amount of time in the agricultural industry. In what is likely an effort to appease Republican protestors, the proposed reform also includes increased security at the southern border.
President Obama clearly feels that Congress will remain gridlocked on passing any kind of immigration reform, so he is doing what he can within his power to change the nation’s immigration laws. This move is reminiscent of the President’s 2012 executive order offering deferred action to the “Dreamers,” who came to the United States as young children.
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