The new U.S. immigration plan as announced by The President of the United States, Barrack Obama on 20th Nov, 2014 is aimed towards protecting nearly half of the United States’ 11 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The President plans to utilize his executive authority to accomplish the objective of offering temporary protection from deportation to 5 million undocumented immigrants. The President said in his speech that there are millions of immigrants in every state of America who belong to every race and nationality and live illegally in the USA.
He acknowledged that tracking down millions of illegal immigrants, rounding them up and deporting them is not a realistic option. He further added that most of these immigrants are hard-working people with low-paying jobs and have families to support.
Who Will Qualify for Obama’s Executive Action Benefits?
In order for the President’s plan to be a success it will be essential to get information to those immigrants who qualify. As per the available details of the President’s plans the main beneficiaries will be the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPR).
Immigrants who qualify under the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will also be beneficiaries of the President’s executive action.
As of now, the USA has limited data on undocumented immigrants. Further, the data has been mostly exclusive to estimates regarding the number of immigrants staying in the USA illegally.
How to Locate the Immigrants Who Qualify for the Benefits
One of the first steps to be taken to identify the beneficiaries of the President’s executive action is to estimate the location of the immigrants who qualify. The Migration Policy Institute has launched a new data tool and additional estimates to locate state-wise the immigrants who qualify.
An important point to note is that the tool has been designed to provide estimates on specific ties to the USA that might enable an immigrant to qualify for the benefits.
As per the policy of the new immigration plan, more than 3.5 million undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or LPRS and have been living in the USA for more than 5 years could be eligible for relief if they pass a background check and clear off any back taxes.
Issues that can Impact the Implementation of the New Immigration Plan
The new immigration policy is expected to be officially launched in the spring of 2015. For the policy to be effective after it launches it is necessary that undocumented immigrants who are eligible for the benefits apply for the program.
However, this may not be a very easy thing to do for the immigrants. The main reason behind this is that such immigrants have been living in the shadows for years. They have come to realise that any kind of interaction with the authorities or government officials could cause their deportation from the USA. A sudden change of this equation, which requires them to come out and enrol for the program, may take time to be accepted by such population.
How to Make the New Immigration Plan a Success
A very crucial part related to the success of any administrative relief program is its proper implementation. As mentioned earlier, to achieve that there must be the ability and willingness of the eligible population to come forward and enrol for the relief.
The administration has learned from the implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that efforts to reach out and encourage eligible individuals to apply for deferred action are crucial.
However, efforts to reach out to the eligible section of the population can only be successful if community groups can successfully target the eligible people. Evaluation of the DACA applications has revealed the fact that the implementation of the program has not been on the same level across the country.
While some states have considerably succeeded in DACA outreach and implementation, other states have encountered much less success. In fact, the implementation has been uneven across national origin groups as well.
Keeping the above facts in mind, it can be understood that the availability of detailed information regarding the distribution of the undocumented immigrants is beneficial for the success of the new immigration plan. The proper utilization of this information will result in effective implementation of the relief program announced by the President of USA.