News / USA

    Activists Cheer New Immigration Rules, Opponents Cry 'Amnesty'

    Executive Director of CASA of Maryland, Gustavo Torres, speaks at CASA's headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland,  May 13, 2004 (file photo)
    Executive Director of CASA of Maryland, Gustavo Torres, speaks at CASA's headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, May 13, 2004 (file photo)
    Laurel Bowman

    Washington is buzzing following an announcement by President Barack Obama's administration that the U.S. now will focus its deportation efforts on illegal immigrants with criminal records or those who pose a threat to national security. The new rules also outline ways for those facing deportation, but having no criminal record, to remain in the U.S. and even apply for a work permit.

    Advocates, while celebrating the news, said they would press the president for even more pro-immigration action. Opponents, including many Republican lawmakers, called it a massive amnesty plan.

    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said her agency will review all of the 300,000 cases pending in immigration courts, but the new focus will be deporting criminals and serious violators of immigration law. Undocumented immigrants classified as low-priority could see their deportation stayed and be offered a chance to apply for a work visa.

    Pro-immigration activists immediately lauded the move. Gustavo Torres is Executive Director of Casa de Maryland, a group that advocates for immigrants.

    “They are going to pretty much allow people who are undocumented here, making a contribution in this great nation, to keep doing that, so that is the reason we are very happy about that decision,” said Torres.

    Napolitano told senators in a letter Thursday that the Obama administration repeatedly has said it makes no sense to expend enforcement resources on low-priority cases.

    The announcement angered some Republican lawmakers and others who oppose illegal immigration. They say Obama has simply overstepped his bounds.

    Ira Mehlman is with FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. He expects Congress, especially the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives, will challenge the President.

    “Congress cannot and must not allow the administration to usurp the constitutional authority that Congress has to make our immigration policies. It is the responsibility of the administration to carry out the laws written by Congress," said Mehlman. "Whether the administration likes those laws or not, they are bound constitutionally to enforce them.”

    Mehlman said it is average Americans who pay the bill for illegal immigrants.

    “This is not cheap labor. It is subsidized labor. When you have people coming here and working for substandard wages, they have to be subsidized by everybody else. If they bring kids and put their kids in the schools, the rest of us pay for that. If they have to use healthcare, we pay for that. There are all sorts of costs that come along with that that the employer passes to the American taxpayer,” he said.

    The administration’s plan likely will stoke political tensions as the 2012 campaign season ramps up. Republicans are accusing Obama of granting amnesty to hundreds of thousands of immigrants.

    And pro-immigration activists would like to see the president do more for their cause. Like Torres, they say more than 1 million immigrants have been deported on the president’s watch.

    “If he keeps deporting our community as he has been doing in the last two-and-a-half years, I doubt the Latino community is going to vote for him,” said Torres.

    Although the number of deportations has grown in recent years, the number of those immigrating illegally actually has dropped.




    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora