Shift from deportation to integration for undocumented immigrants

USI DeportationThe Obama administration has started a dramatic change in the way in which it enforces the immigration laws of the United States. This is designed to help long-term undocumented immigrants to become a more integral part of society rather than planning to deport them, according to both federal officials and documents.

Over the course of the last few months the Department of Homeland Security has moved to ensure that the majority of the 11.3 million undocumented immigrants already living and working in the United States can remain, with officials restricting enforcement to undocumented immigrants with criminal records, recent border crossers or potential national security threats. Although the attention of the media and the general public has largely focused on the court fight over the executive actions announced by President Obama last year, the Department of Homeland Security has been quietly getting on with the business of training immigration agents all over the country to concentrate on the new enforcement policies.

The typical undocumented immigrant, according to demographic data, been living in the United States for at least ten years and has strong ties to their community. Although the new policies do not provide US citizenship to these immigrants, they do have the potential to significantly change their lives, including removing the fear of interacting with law enforcement.

“We are making it clear that we should not expend our limited resources on deporting those who have been here for years, have committed no serious crimes and have, in effect, become integrated members of our society,” Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson explained.