The Migration Policy Institute [official website] released a report [text] on Thursday finding that the Obama administration’s new policies that will protect up to 87 percent of undocumented immigrants in the United States from facing deportation. The report stated that the total number of deportations is estimated to drop by as much as 25,000 per year. The new policies will focus less on unauthorized immigrants in general and more on unauthorized immigrants who were convicted of serious crimes, pose national security threats or were caught crossing the border illegally. Under guidelines the administration announced in November [JURIST report] and put into effect July 1, those immigrants would fall into the category of top priority removal.
US immigration law [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be a controversial and heavily politicized area of law at both the state and federal levels. In February a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked [JURIST report] two key parts of a recent immigration initiative announced by US President Barack Obama [official website] that would halt the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. In November a judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] struck down [JURIST report] an Arizona law that made smuggling immigrants a state crime because it conflicts with federal laws governing immigration. In August 2013 the Obama administration released [JURIST report] a policy directive known as the “Family Interest Directive,” emphasizing that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents should apply “prosecutorial discretion” towards undocumented immigrant parents of minors to limit detaining parents and to safeguard their parental rights. In June 2013 the US Senate approved [JURIST report] a bill which would create new pathways to US citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the US. That bill was subsequently not approved by the House.