May­ors press Obama to OK faster amnesty to help il­le­gals.

Push Obama to grant more stays

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Il­le­gal im­mi­grants should get faster ap­provals of their tem­po­rary amnesty ap­pli­ca­tions and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in its fi­nal days should use its pow­ers to grant even more stays of de­por­ta­tion for il­le­gal im­mi­grants from strug­gling coun­tries, the may­ors of the na­tion’s big­gest cities said in a let­ter Thurs­day to Pres­i­dent Obama.

The may­ors added their voices to those of im­mi­grant rights ac­tivists across the coun­try, who in re­cent weeks have pleaded with Mr. Obama to do all he can to help il­le­gal im­mi­grants be­fore turn­ing the reins over to Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, who’s ex­pected to take a much harder line.

Ac­tivists have asked Mr. Obama to par­don il­le­gal im­mi­grants, par­tic­u­larly the young adult il­le­gal im­mi­grants known as Dream­ers, but the White House has ruled that out, say­ing that tool doesn’t fit the sit­u­a­tion.

May­ors didn’t ask for a par­don, but said Mr. Obama’s fore­most pri­or­ity should be to speed up pro­cess­ing for Dream­ers to be ad­mit­ted to his 2012 de­por­ta­tion amnesty pol­icy, which grants a two-year stay of re­moval and is­sues work per­mits to il­le­gal im­mi­grants 30 and un­der who were brought to the U.S. as chil­dren.

Mr. Trump has vowed to roll back that pol­icy, known as De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals, or DACA, but some an­a­lysts ex­pect him to stop new pro­cess­ing but leave ex­ist­ing per­mits in force.

The may­ors said Mr. Obama should speed as many peo­ple through the re­newal process now so they can earn a new two-year re­prieve.

“We call upon your ad­min­is­tra­tion to ac­cept early re­newal ap­pli­ca­tions for cur­rent DACA hold­ers to ex­tend tem­po­rary pro­tec­tions for them,” the may­ors wrote.

They also asked Mr. Obama to do more to pro­tect the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion the il­le­gal im­mi­grants have turned over to the ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­clud­ing ad­dresses, fear­ing they could be used as tar­get lists for de­por­ta­tion un­der Mr. Trump.

As of Sept. 30, 752,154 peo­ple have been ap­proved for at least one twoyear term of DACA. Most of those have been in the pro­gram since near the be­gin­ning, and have al­ready had to re­new once — nearly all re­newal ap­pli­ca­tions have been ap­proved.

The back­log in cases stood at nearly 120,000 at the end of Septem­ber, with more than 46,000 of those still first-time ap­pli­ca­tions and the rest re­newals.

U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices, the agency charged with pro­cess­ing the ap­pli­ca­tions, did not pro­vide an­swers Thurs­day to ques­tions about whether it would be pos­si­ble to speed up ap­pli­ca­tions in the way the may­ors were ask­ing.

The agency also didn’t ex­plain why the back­log of ap­pli­ca­tions has grown — more than dou­bling over the last year.

The most re­cent data shows be­tween 5,000 and 6,000 peo­ple file new ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tions each month, while more than 20,000 are seek­ing to re­new ex­ist­ing amnesties each month.

The may­ors thanked Mr. Obama for can­cel­ing a pro­gram the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion de­signed to track Mus­lim men. It was set up in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks, but it was quickly cur­tailed. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­con­tin­ued it in 2011, then fi­nally took it off the books last week.

And the may­ors asked the pres­i­dent to ex­tend “Tem­po­rary Pro­tected Sta­tus,” which is an­other form of mini-amnesty, to Haitians, Ecuado­ri­ans and oth­ers whose home coun­tries are suf­fer­ing from re­cent dis­as­ters.

Some im­mi­grant rights ad­vo­cates have called on Mr. Obama to go even fur­ther and ex­tend TPS to il­le­gal im­mi­grants in the U.S. who came from Cen­tral Amer­ica, flee­ing vi­o­lence and poverty.

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