President Barack Obama has finally unveiled measures that are expected to overhaul the US immigration system. Under the new measures, millions of illegal immigrants living in the US will be allowed to apply for work permits.
These include all immigrants who have been in the US for the last five years and children who are living legally in the US.
The new reform package from President Obama is expected to benefit nearly 4 million people. There are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the US. The major countries from where these illegal immigrants originate include Mexico (59%), El-Salvador (6%), Guatemala (5%), Honduras (3%) and Philippines (3%).
Under this new plan, undocumented parents of children who are legal residents and/or US citizens will be able to apply for work permits lasting three years.
It is important to note that this new reform applies only to parents who have lived in the US for the last five years. According to the Migration Policy Institute, nearly 3.7 million people would be eligible.
In addition, the new reforms will also give temporary legal status to people who arrived in the US as children. In 2012, those under the age of 30 and who had arrived before 2007 could apply for this program but now President Obama has extended the cut-off point to 2010 and has abolished the age-limit. This program will cover nearly 300,000 people.
This is a major breakthrough for immigrants. President Obama has been severely criticized and the Republicans have gone so far as to accuse him of an “illegal power grab.”
President Obama has had to bypass Congress since he became weary of trying to get the Congress to look seriously into the issue. There is no doubt that the new reforms will result in retaliation and opposition, especially since the President is bypassing the legislature and is using the executive order to implement the reforms. The new reforms will be the biggest since the mid-1980s but Obama is confident that he is doing the right thing and has tried to find the middle ground for a resolution of this long-debated issue.
President Obama is adamant that he has not overstepped his authority and that the decision was taken after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General.
An aide to the President clarifies, “”It’s entirely consistent with the way previous presidents have exercised their executive authority.”