Obama calls for deportations to be handled more humanely

President Obama has issued a call for deportations to be handled more humanely in the United States, according to a recent statement from the White House. The President has ordered a system-wide review of the methods used by the Department of Homeland Security to enforce the nation's immigration laws, saying that too many families are subjected to the pain of separation due to the nation's "broken immigration system."

In recent months, Obama has come under increasing pressure from immigrant rights advocates to stop deportations until comprehensive immigration reforms can be put in place. The President, meanwhile, says that he has already reached the limits of his legal authority to curtail deportations and that it is now up to Congress to act on the matter. Unfortunately, however, federal lawmakers have made little progress so far in their attempts to reach an agreement on immigration reform.

Deportation deferrals for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children

In 2012, President Obama created a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which provides temporary, renewable deportation protection to eligible undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children. For applicants who meet all eligibility criteria, including age, residency and educational requirements, the Deferred Action program protects against deportation for two years at a time and can be renewed indefinitely.

Although the program does not provide access to green cards or a path to citizenship, it does allow participants to obtain work authorization, giving them greater access to employment opportunities in the United States. According to a report by the American Immigration Council, DACA has helped many deferral recipients integrate more fully into American society. For example, since receiving a deportation deferral:

  • 61 percent of DACA recipients have started a new a new job.
  • 61 percent of DACA recipients have obtained a driver's license.
  • 54 percent of DACA recipients have opened their first bank account.
  • 38 percent of DACA recipients have obtained their first credit card.

DACA is open to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and have lived continuously in the country since at least June 15, 2007. Eligible applicants must have been age 30 or younger on June 15, 2012 and must meet a number of additional eligibility requirements.

Talk to an immigration lawyer to learn more

If you would like more information about qualifying for DACA, or if you have questions about any other immigration related matter, be sure to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer.