The executive action on immigration reform taken by President Obama has protected millions from deportation from the United States but has failed to address some major human rights concerns, according to Human Rights Watch. The organization says that the president and Congress need to put an end to unnecessary detention, unfair criminal penalties and the harsh treatment given to immigrants at the US border.
A new Q&A document from Human Rights Watch says that the executive action taken by Obama in November makes it easier for families harmed by legal backlogs to stay together and expands the eligibility criteria for the parents of legal permanent residents and US citizens and for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country when they were minors to gain temporary legal status.
The executive action does not, however, deal with mandatory detention provisions that punish immigrants for having minor criminal records or offer protection from deportation for the said parents if they are caught at the US border with other family members, around 50,000 of whom are deported every year. Obama has also failed to deal with the rise in federal prosecutions for illegal entries and re-entries.
“Last year’s presidential action still leaves millions of people subject to unfair and harsh immigration laws and practices that cry out for reform,” claims Human Rights Watch US advocacy director Antonio Ginatta. “The arrival of a new Congress in Washington creates opportunities for policymakers to advance immigration reform that respects the rights of all.”