President Obama eases immigration laws for undocumented folks with family in the U.S. (Photo via pennstatelive/ Flickr)

President Barack Obama has eased immigration laws for undocumented immigrants with family in the United States. (Photo: pennstatelive/Flickr.)

By Ashley Lopez
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

The Obama administration has announced a significant change to U.S. immigration policy. Undocumented immigrants with family in the United States may now become permanent residents.

Barack Obama’s first term as president was tough for undocumented immigrants. His administration deported more than 1 million immigrants, many of whom were not criminals. PBS Frontline reported on some of the fallout of Obama’s immigration enforcement system as well as stories about hidden abuse in immigrant detention centers.

In fact, according to a 2011 investigation by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, a program aimed at removing undocumented immigrants who were violent criminals was used to target and deport immigrants with no criminal backgrounds.

According to the FCIR investigation:

Twenty-eight percent of the 75,461 immigrants deported since Secure Communities’ inception in 2008 have been “non-criminal” immigrants, while just 23 percent of those detained and deported have convictions for violent crimes such as murder or rape. Federal officials classify “non-criminals” as those who have been booked by police for an alleged crime but never convicted.

Secure Communities has been particularly effective in detaining and deporting non-criminals from Florida, where 42 percent of those detained did not have criminal convictions. Only 20 percent of those detained in Florida had felony convictions for violent crimes.

Immigrant justice groups have long criticized the president for deporting immigrants at such a high rate over the past few years.

Despite the backlash, however, Latinos in the United States helped catapult the president to his second term in November. Obama had signaled throughout the campaign — and more strongly right after his win — that he would revisit immigration reform.

Now, Obama has signaled that he intends to make good on his promises.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens will have an easier path to permanent residency under a new Obama administration rule that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million people unlawfully in the United States.

The rule issued Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security aims to reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their U.S. families while seeking legal status, officials said.

Beginning March 4, illegal immigrants who can demonstrate that time apart from an American spouse, child or parent would create “extreme hardship” can apply for a visa without leaving the United States. Once approved, applicants would be required to leave briefly in order to return to their native country and pick up their visa.

Sources said that the administration might expand the changes to include relatives of lawful permanent residents.

Last year, Obama endorsed another rule change that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to be shielded from deportation.

Obama’s decision to grant residency status to undocumented immigrants with family in the United States could have a large impact in Florida, which is home, by conservative estimates, to 700,000 undocumented immigrants.



2 Responses

  1. Dave Francis


    Republican Congressman Lamar Smith’s breakthrough bill (LEGAL WORKFORCE BILL) H.R.2885 is filled with innovations to drive out illegal aliens from labor force, including mandatory E-Verify. For a while it was actually moving in Congress, now the whole policy has gone silent. We really need the Public to yell at their politicians in the state and federal offices, to make this bill a law. A good friend of mine who has three state licenses and two federal licenses for commercial air conditioning and heating has his hands tied because of the weight of Rules and Regulations. In the past his experience would earn him around $5.000 for installation, but now the same job would carry a charge of $15.000. In California he could be heavily fined and lose his license if the stringent laws were not applied. So what has happened, foreign nationals have slipped into this work, without bond or insurance, without the appropriate licenses and stealing legal contractors jobs without undue worry. Pass a well organized and a thoroughly vetted Guest Worker program that must leave on expiry of documentation. Bring to America a limited number of (STEM) workers, who are categorized as high on the career ladder of professional Scientists, Technological, Engineering and Mathematicians. But we MUST exempt the human penniless parasites that come here to live of the taxpayers.


    To further expedite the removal of illegal aliens is a bill that would eliminate (BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP) H.R. 140 for children born to illegal aliens in the U.S as introduced by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. Current U.S. law automatically merits the smuggled children have a fabricated right to citizenship. Each year hundreds of thousands annually gain entry into the country for the very express purpose of creating a U.S. citizenship baby, which can become a conduit for many other family members. The U.S. is about 235 years old and in that time when someone was born in the United States they were instantly a U.S. citizen. The 14th amendment was to award the children of slaves and their descendants after the Civil War, not a doorway for foreign children to gain citizenship. The United States offers food stamps, aid to dependent families and free education to citizen children of other nations. Mothers come here to have a child-birth for free and then collect a lifetime of welfare payments. Now a new reality is upon us, with a high population in this nation and with a growing number of impoverished Americans. This country already is unable to properly take care of its itinerant populace, yet Washington keeps encouraging more and more illegal aliens for the benefit of unconcerned business owners. Both bills need recognition and swiftly moved through committees and read on the House floor and then the Senate. Without these two dormant bills are being enacted hundreds of billions of dollars are being appropriated from your payroll checks, for people who remain here illegally.

    As I have repeated many times the financial implications for another Path to Citizenship or so named Amnesty is incredulous. The Heritage Foundation after analyzing such a gigantic undertaking has placed the price tag at $ 2.4 TRILLION DOLLARS. Obama must be out of his mind to even suggest yet more spending on the illegal aliens, as to do so is just going to drive more disadvantage people to this country even before such a imbecilic decision is made law. We cannot even get this Congress to sever spending when just the U.S. treasury 16 Trillion dollars and climbing is likely to go forward to the next level. Isn’t it time Washington politicians respect the laws already in the Federal Registry? They all should be tarred and feathered accept for a small minority, who believe in the “Rule of Law” and try to vote accordingly. We need more TEA PARTY representatives in the Congress, which are true to their word and will carry out the wishes of all THE PEOPLE. Our country is annually being placed on a slave auction block so lawmakers can offer special favors to the elites and all the special interest groups.

    If you want further advice and information and are ready to investigate the lies of both the Democrats and Republicans, check out TEA PARTY, NUMBERSUSA, ALIPAC, JUDICIAL WATCH, FAIR, VDARE and AMERICAN PATROL. The American people should realize it is time for Public Campaign Contributions and not the theft of our liberties by the special interest groups of moneyed lobbyists, the wealthy, big unions, foreign governments, The United Nations, corporations (Domestic and International) and a whole range of other entities wrecking the tenets of this sovereign nation.

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