Obama’s poli­cies may al­ter dragnet

Think tank pre­dicts fewer de­por­ta­tions with shift in en­force­ment

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY JERRY MARKON jerry.markon@wash­post.com

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­found shift in its en­force­ment of immigration laws could “sub­stan­tially trans­form” the na­tion’s immigration dragnet, re­duc­ing de­por­ta­tions and pro­tect­ing nearly 90 per­cent of the illegal im­mi­grants al­ready here, a new re­port says.

As The Washington Post re­ported this month, the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity has taken steps to en­sure that the ma­jor­ity of the United States’ 11.3 mil­lion un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants can stay in this coun­try. The changes are de­signed to has­ten the in­te­gra­tion of long-term illegal im­mi­grants into so­ci­ety rather than tar­get­ing them for de­por­ta­tion.

On Thurs­day, the Mi­gra­tion Pol­icy In­sti­tute, a non­par­ti­san think tank, said the new poli­cies are likely to re­duce de­por­ta­tions within the United States by about 25,000 cases each year. In a 31page re­port, the in­sti­tute also said the changes, if fully im­ple­mented, will “of­fer a de­gree of pro­tec­tion” from de­por­ta­tion to 87 per­cent of illegal im­mi­grants.

“Over­all, the new en­force­ment poli­cies . . . have the po­ten­tial to sub­stan­tially trans­form the U.S. de­por­ta­tion sys­tem, par­tic­u­larly within the U.S. in­te­rior,” said the re­port, au­thored by Marc R. Rosen­blum, deputy di­rec­tor of the in­sti­tute’s U.S. Immigration Pol­icy Pro­gram.

In a state­ment, Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Jeh John­son said he was “pleased” by the re­port, one of the first in­de­pen­dent assess­ments of the steps John­son is tak­ing to re­shape immigration pol­icy.

With lit­tle fanfare, DHS has since Jan­uary been train­ing thou­sands of immigration agents na­tion­wide to change their ev­ery­day en­force­ment of immigration laws. The new poli­cies di­rect agents to fo­cus on three pri­or­ity groups of illegal mi­grants— con­victed crim­i­nals, ter­ror­ism threats and those who re­cently crossed the bor­der— and leave vir­tu­ally ev­ery­body else alone.

On John­son’s or­ders, of­fi­cials have been re­view­ing the pop­u­la­tion of im­mi­grant de­tainees — and each of the es­ti­mated 400,000 cases in the na­tion’s clogged immigration courts— to weed out those who don’t meet the new pri­or­i­ties. At least 3,000 peo­ple have been re­leased from cus­tody or have had their immigration cases dropped, DHS of­fi­cials have said.

The pol­icy changes are sep­a­rate from the court fight over Pres­i­dent Obama’s highly pub­li­cized ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion on immigration. That bat­tle cen­ters on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of a pro­gram that would of­fi­cially shield as many as 5 mil­lion el­i­gi­ble illegal im­mi­grants from de­por­ta­tion, mainly par­ents of chil­dren who are U.S. cit­i­zens and le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dents. A fed­eral judge put the pro­gram on hold in Fe­bru­ary af­ter 26 states sued.

The new poli­cies are likely to re­duce de­por­ta­tions by about 25,000 cases each year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.