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What are some of Obama's plans for immigration reform?

It has been reported in the news for some time that President Obama says he plans to take executive action on immigration issues by the end of the year. While debates over immigration reform are nothing new, this call to action may have many immigrants wondering what changes are in store and how they may benefit. If an executive order is signed, the immigration changes made will likely benefit some immigrants across the nation, including those here in North Carolina. Others, however, may face additional concerns.

According to a recent news report, several parts of Obama's immigration plan have been made public. Three parts of his plan are intended to provide deportation relief that presumably will help around five million people. These provisions include an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), relief for undocumented parents and the elimination of a fingerprinting program that is currently considered mandatory. Each of these changes could help more families avoid separation due to their current residency status.

Other parts of the proposed plan will do little to help immigrants in their fight to stay in the country. These provisions include pay increases for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and fast-tracking deportation procedures. It is unclear what procedural changes will occur to speed up the deportation process.

While immigration reform is long overdue, all plans proposed seem to have both benefits and disadvantages. As President Obama seems focused on effecting some sort of reform in the near future, it will certainly be worth following to see if any changes are indeed made. In the meantime, laws are already in place that can help immigrants in North Carolina fight deportation, obtain legal status or even apply for citizenship.

Source: motherjones.com, "3 Ways Obama's Immigration Executive Action Changes Everything (and One Way It Doesn't)", Ian Gordon, Nov. 14, 2014

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