The Obama administration has made it known that they are making criminals a priority when it comes to the deportation of illegal immigrants. However, many activists have noted that undocumented immigrants from Louisiana and other states have been swept up by the system and deported for what many see as minor crimes.
Many have been deported specifically for immigration violations such as missing an immigration court date, re-entering the country illegally after deportation or failing to comply with a deportation order. However, this may all be changing soon. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is considering a change in US immigration law that would help protect those without serious criminal records from deportation.
While these changes are welcomed by activists, many want Obama to do even more to help those in the United States illegally. Many support the expansion of a two-year program that gives work permits to those who came here illegally as children so that illegal immigrant parents of US born children can obtain work permits.
John Sedwig, former director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was also in support of slowing deportations for those with minor criminal records. He and other immigration advocates have reported that Johnson was ordered by Obama to review deportation policies and work to find ways to make them more humane. Sedwig said that the ICE should now focus on public safety and national security, and take those guilty of immigration violations or re-entering the country after deportation off the priority list.
Obama has nearly 2 million deportations under his watch, and is facing a great deal of pressure to cut down on future deportations. However, Obama has reported that it is difficult for him to make any significant changes with Congress refusing to take action. Republicans have criticized the Obama administration in the past for undermining the law by giving immigration agents "prosecutorial discretion." The road is long, but it is clear that there will be great progress in the field of immigration in the near future.
Immigrants currently dealing with issues that could lead to deportation or the deportation of family members shoul dunderstand what options are available to them to delay deportation or fight this action. Seeking guidance about the process with help them deal with a complex and lengthy process while also protecting their interests and rights.
Fox News, "US weighs curbing deportations for illegal immigrants without serious criminal records," April 21, 2014