Obama’s order a relief to illegal immigrants

  • Mixed reaction from Republicans
  • A blessing for millions of Indians, Chinese
  • Parents of the ‘dreamers’ left in lurch
  • Let us make the law, calls president

(Venkata Kondubhatla)

Washington, November 22: Barrack Obama has taken the executive action on immigration Thursday to defer deportations for around five million undocumented immigrants and allow temporarily work permits to work legally. The decision comes in the wake of immigrant protests and Congress House stalling action on the pending Immigration Reform Bill.

The president making the announcement said that this will temporarily reprieve some illegal immigrants from deportations, but their path to citizenship will only be possible through the Immigration Bill. He urged the congress to act on the Bill.

This order will defer deportations for up to three years of all the parents whose children are either American citizens or permanent residents and living in the country for at least five years, some 3 to 4 million. The order also applies to those who are covered under the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, who are estimated to be around 1.2 million by the Migration Policy Institute.

Obama in 2012 had deferred the deportations for more than 455,000 young immigrants through executive order after Congress failed the “Dreamers Bill”. These immigrants known as “Dreamers”, who are brought to the U.S. when they were young, were deferred from deportations for two years.

Reacting to the order, the Congress Speaker, John Boehner, said that the president’s immigration action will only encourage more people to come to the United States illegally.The Republicans argue that the United States has to protect its borders first before deferring the deportations and showing them a path to citizenship.

“The president was obvious that he would take the executive order,” said Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, on Thursday addressing the press. “The democratic party is behind him.”

Both the Democratic and Republican presidents had taken executive actions before, but this action will set a precedent in its magnitude and formality. This action will affect lot more people compared to the previous immigration executive orders. President urged Congress to push Immigration Reform Bill to nullify his action.

Immigration Reform Bill, which has been passed in Senate in 2012, is waiting for the House to pass it. The filibuster at House has stopped the Bill ever since. The Bill, if passed, will go through the process of reconciling both the Senate and the House versions of the Bill and then go to the president for his sign off to become a law.

This Bill is aimed at a comprehensive overhaul of the present broken immigration system according to the president. The Bill, if passed, would set path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in 13 years. However, for agriculture workers the process may take fewer years, for they would be issued “blue cards” that would allow them to apply for green cards after only five years. The Bill would also expand the employment-based immigration, removing the cap on workers from India and China. Also, would introduce new visas for less-skilled worker in areas like construction and service fields.

Recently, the protests to let the parents of the so-called Dreamers out of the shadows have intensified. Though the protests had not been much during the mid-term elections, the protestors mainly concentrated on White House and Obama, forcing the president to appeal to the protestors to put pressure on the Republicans to pass the Bill. Instead, the protestors with reduced funds from the companies like Ford, started focusing on pressurizing president to come up with an interim solution on deportation.

Nevertheless, the order does not cover the parents of the Dreamers. Also, it puts limits on the covered – they would not be eligible for any of the government subsidies or the Affordable Care Act. So, to many the feeling is bittersweet.

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