This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Obama Administration Backs Off on Deportations

The Obama Administration has systematically been deporting a record number of undocumented immigrants, as I have noted before. Today, however, came an announcement that the policy would change and that only those who posed a threat to national security or public safety would be targeted for deportation (remember that being an undocumented immigrant is a misdemeanor, not a felony). The New York Times focuses on the benefit to non-US-born children of undocumented immigrants.
The new policy is expected to help thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as young children, graduated from high school and want to go on to college or serve in the armed forces.Under the new policy, the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, can provide relief, on a case-by-case basis, to young people who are in the country illegally but pose no threat to national security or to the public safety.
The Associated Press looks at the bigger picture:

Laura Lichter, president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the devil was in the details of reviewing 300,000 cases.
But whatever the result, she said, the policy does bring administrative changes to the immigration system at a time when congressional action seems unlikely.
Many Republicans have long opposed any immigration overhaul, including the DREAM Act, characterizing such proposals as amnesty.
While the new policy does not provide illegal immigrants with a path to permanent residency, it does allow those whose cases are indefinitely stayed to apply for a work permit. The government could also reopen deportation cases if an immigrant is arrested or other circumstances in their case change.
"Congress is so stuck in its partisan politics, the immigration situation is getting worse and worse and worse," Lichter said. "This is the administration's only way, and frankly a very appropriate way, to come up with an interim fix."
A cynical view would be that President Obama sought originally to appeal to Republican voters by cracking down on undocumented immigration. Instead, it seemed only to antagonize people who had voted for him in 2008, and so a softer stance is being taken to bring those people back to the voting booth in 2012. 

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