In a recent online piece, ABC News outlines seven numbers that tell the story of President Obama on immigration.
Four years ago President Obama vowed to revamp the U.S. immigration system. With a war to worry about, failing healthcare and a bad economy, it became a less important issue and reform was nowhere to be seen. However, Obama was able to crack down on enforcement being nicknamed “deporter-in-chief” while overseeing a record number of deportations during his first term. The border became more secure with numbers of those attempting to cross it reaching the lowest they have ever been. Today, the situation is different with actual reform on the way and initiated by a program for young undocumented immigrants that allows them to live, learn, and work in the U.S. legally.
Obama has shown support for high levels of enforcement as well as verbal support for immigration reform which includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country. During Obama’s first four years, 6 million people were deported from the U.S. which beats President Bush’s numbers of only deporting about 21,000 people a month compared to Obama’s 33,000 per month.
Dreamers, young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors and have graduated from U.S. high schools and want to pursue a higher education, military service, or get jobs avoid deportation through deferred action. Over 154,404 DREAMers have received deferred action as of August when the program started. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has earned the president much praise from civil activist and immigration rights activists groups despite high levels of deportations. Chung-Wha Hong, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition says, “…deferred action is really one of the most positive developments of the last decade that, otherwise, was really categorized by heavy enforcement."
Finally, $18 billion is the amount of money the federal government spent on immigrant enforcement in the 2012 fiscal year. This number outweighs the costs associated with major criminal law enforcement efforts in the U.S. including the FBI, Drug enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Obama may not have to worry so much about enforcement his second term with the level of net migration from Mexico being 0. The poor economy, increased enforcement, a declining Mexican birth rate and growing middle class in Mexico has made coming to the U.S. illegally less appealing. The focus should shift to considering those living in the U.S. and how to better allow them to assimilate into society by creating a pathway to citizenship.
Time will tell whether immigration reform actually happens and whether that will have an impact on the St. Louis metropolitan area. If you have immigration questions or want to know how the proposed reform might help you, please call us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.