Most undocumented immigrants to stay in US under new policies

ImmigrationThe Obama administration is putting into place new immigration programs across the United States that will allow up to 87% of undocumented immigrants to remain in the country, according to a new report from the nonpartisan research group Migration Policy Institute, which is based in Washington.

The report, which was released yesterday, claims that 13% of around 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States are either recent illegal border crossers or have criminal records. They are therefore priorities to be deported under the new guidelines announced by the Obama administration last November, which came into effect on the first of this month. The report finds that the amount of deportations will fall by up to 25,000 a year under the new policies, although  the deportation of those with criminal convictions will increase.

Officials in the Obama administration claim that they expect the new rules will result in greater cooperation from over 300 cities, such as San Francisco, that have passed their own laws to reduce cooperation with federal authorities due to many immigrants with no criminal records and longstanding family and community ties being caught up in deportation programs.  Lawmakers in the Republican Party, however, claim that the new scheme ‒ the Priority Enforcement Program ‒ is undermining the ability of federal agents to effectively enforce immigration laws and are working on new bills to force local authorities to cooperate with the federal government.