At a televised town hall forum on immigration in Miami on Feb. 25, President Obama responded to concerns about enforcement of new immigration policies. The Obama administration launched several new initiatives in November that will affect millions of undocumented immigrants and make it easier for them to obtain work permits and remain in the United States.
A Texas judge temporarily blocked the programs, and it has joined 25 additional states in suing the president. The states say they cannot afford the extra cost and that Obama has overstepped his executive power. Republicans in Congress have also attempted to push through legislation blocking the initiatives, but Democrats have not let the legislation through. According to Obama, his executive actions are only temporary, and Congress needs to pass more permanent immigration reform legislation.
Obama also responded to immigrant concerns that applying under the new regulations will bring them to the attention of immigration officials and result in their deportation. While Obama acknowledged some immigrants will not qualify even under the new legislation, he also stated that any immigration officials who contravene the regulations and deport immigrants who are eligible to remain will face consequences for failure to follow policy.
Individuals who are concerned about whether they are eligible under the new policies or who are concerned about deportation may wish to consult an attorney. With changes in immigration laws leading to new categories of eligibility and the controversy in Congress over the policies, keeping abreast of changes may be confusing. For example, an individual who has been living illegally in the United States for 10 years and has children here may now qualify to remain in the country under the new policies.