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Executive Action Immigration Reform - What Could Have Been...


Sadly, the first of my “there won't be any immigration reform…” predictions from last week's blog held true.

We all remember the President's promise from the Rose Garden on June 30, 2014, when he announced he will fix our broken immigration system by way of executive action by the end of summer. The end of summer came on September 8, when the President broke his promise and announced that he will further delay executive action. There are plenty reports and opinions why the President did what he did and I am not going to add to it; rather, let's take a look what could have happened if the President would have kept his promise.

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) published a new report estimating that nearly 8.5 million undocumented persons could benefit from executive action if the action were modeled after the now existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA defers deportation for two years and provides for employment authorization for undocumented persons who:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the U.S. prior to their 16 th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S> since June 15, 2007;
  • Have been physically present in the U.S> on June 15, 2012 and at the time of application;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a high school certificate, or GED, of have an honorable discharge from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors.

MPI used these criteria and calculated that changing 2007, the year since when a DACA person had to live in the U.S. to 2011, would expand the program to 90,000 more people. Changing the minimum arrival age from 16 to 18 would benefit an additional 180,000 immigrants. Eliminating the maximum age of 30 and eliminating the educational requirement would benefit an additional 30,000 and 430,000 respectively.

According to MPI, a new deferred action policy encompassing all illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for the past five years could apply to as many as 8.47 million people. Even longer residence requirements would impact millions because MPI estimates approximately 5.74 million undocumented persons have lived in the U.S. for 10 years and over 3 million for at least 15 years.

So there you have it – what could have been…..

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