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Obama Scales Back Deportations

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The Obama administration has begun to shift its immigration policies, rather than being deported, long term-illegal immigrants are being integrated into American society. The nearly 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the United States can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as agents have narrowed down their deportability efforts to three categories of illegal migrants: terrorism threats, those who recently crossed the border, and convicted criminals, leaving virtually everyone else alone.

While the DHS agents implement these new policies, Obama continues his DAPA legal battle over his executive action on immigration. The legal battle is rooted in the constitutionality of Obama’s DAPA program that could see as many as 5 million illegal immigrants integrated into American society. Those that would receive relief are mainly parents of children who are U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. Although DAPA is being challenged, the DHS’s new policies have not been challenged in court, even though they are causing significant ripples in the immigration world. Though the new DHS policies do not grant illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, they no longer have to live in fear.

This shift in DHS policies has led to a 27 percent decrease in deportations this year, which amounts to a 50 percent decrease from the 2012 numbers. Furthermore, fewer immigrants are in the pipeline for deportation, as the occupancy at immigration detention facilities has dropped by nearly 20 percent this year.

DHS Secretary, Jeh Johnson, has ordered that officials review the entire immigrant detainee population, amounting to a review of the 400,000 cases in the nation’s immigration courts, leading to approximately 3000 people being released or having their immigration cases dropped thus far.

Johnson, who took office in December 2013, stated that immigrants could only be deported if they had been convicted of crimes, not just arrested, and that only people who crossed the border after January 2014 could be deported purely for an immigration violation.

However, although one would assume that these policies will bring about nothing but positive changes in the immigration world, some immigrant advocates have expressed concerns regarding Johnson’s policies, fearing that long-term immigrations who are low level offenders may be targeted. Overall, these policies seem to be a massive step in the right direction and time will prove their effectiveness.

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