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One Year Later, Change in Immigration Policy Shows Mixed Results

Thursday, June 14, 2012

immigration rally Demonstrators at an immigration rally. (Mirela Iverac/WNYC)

A year after the Obama administration announced a new immigration policy — prosecutorial discretion — immigration advocates said they are disappointed with the results.

“At the very least we hoped it might stop the hemorrhaging of mass deportations,” said SJ Jung, president of the Queens-based MinKwon Center for Community Action. “Sadly, we were wrong. The interim report card on this new policy came out, and it got an F.”

Jung was one of a dozen immigration advocates who gathered on Thursday in front of the immigration court in New York, criticizing what they say are low numbers resulting from the changed policy.

Last June, John Morton, director of ICE, issued a memo instructing his attorneys and officers to exercise prosecutorial discretion by allowing some undocumented immigrants with clean criminal records and strong ties to the United States to stay here, although without automatically getting legal status. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE, began putting the policy into effect by reviewing backlogged cases in immigration courts.

ICE has reviewed 96 percent of the 300,000 cases backlogged in immigration courts and found that around 7 percent of undocumented immigrants are eligible for prosecutorial discretion. 

“The ongoing case-by-case review is helping to alleviate backlogged immigration courts,” a spokeswoman for ICE said, “and enabling ICE to more quickly remove those individuals who pose the greatest threat to public safety.”

Some immigration attorneys said they agree, emphasizing the policy could result in lower numbers of people who get placed in deportation proceedings in the future.

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Comments [3]

Anuj Patel from San Diego, CA

I feel this is not a fair idea for the rest of the immigrants that had to go through the right process to come to this country. I simply disagree with the idea.

Jun. 15 2012 04:12 PM
elka from NJ

I agree with E-Verify enforcement. I believe the illegal workers are the cause of our stubborn unemployment numbers. The congress that ignores the demands of the citizens are corrupt. This is corruption on steroids.

Jun. 15 2012 10:00 AM
Dave Francis from Indianapolis, IN

The only avenue that will bring to a halt illegal immigration is for all American voters to demand that a mandatory “Legal Workforce Act” Commonly known as E-Verify (H.R. 2885), if expedited through Congress. The Republicans amplify that they want to help American labor, so tell me why by House speaker, John Boehner (R-OH) and Dave Camp, ranking Chairman of the influential Ways and Means Committee are placing obstacles to stop E-Verify being enacted? Simply put, under this intentionally dormant law, that if implemented nationwide millions of illegal aliens will recognize the pointlessness of searching for a job. The electronic computer program accesses two major databases, Homeland Security and Social Security Administration, which has a 99.5 percent rate at flagging foreign workers. E-Verify has expanded its information sources to include driver’s license records, which strengthens the reliability of the program. E-Verify has been collecting driver’s license information since June 2011, for employees who present a state-issued driver’s license. Applicants for jobs will notice new screens that support this change, which further detects unauthorized job seekers. As some states have repudiated E-Verify, American citizens as voters must call Congress and demand from the spineless lawmakers to press ‘THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT’ be passed-and be expedited. Even ‘The Pew Hispanic Center’ estimated that 8 million illegal aliens attained American jobs in 2010, even as 20 million unemployed and underemployed citizens/legal residents sought after work.

When the Obama administration temporarily enforced immigration laws with worksite raids throughout the last years of the Bush administration, Americans lined up to take those jobs, even before the economy downturn. The raid at Swift Meats, Colorado 2006, and the line of applicants eager to fill jobs vacated by illegal workers was “out the door”. After the raid at Smithfield Foods, North Carolina 2007, blacks again became the majority of workers, and after 16 years of struggle, workers were finally unionized. Multiple times illegal labors in numerous industries, after ICE raids thousands of legal workers have been hired. Saying that Americans won’t do those jobs is ludicrous? But Americans couldn’t get these worker’s until the government enforced our laws. Many newspapers reporters spotlight on illegal alien neighborhoods, feeling “under attack” and “distraught” after enforcement operations, recounting enforcement legislation as “tough” and “anti-immigrant”, and they generally disregard the advantageous effect of enforcement on birthright workers, lawful immigrants, and refugees who rapidly arrived to those jobs after ICE had left.

Jun. 14 2012 08:46 PM

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