The Obama Administration’s Agenda on Immigration
President Barack Obama outlined in his agenda five objectives in addressing immigration. They are:
- Strengthen Border Control
- Improve Our Immigration System
- Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally
- Bring People out of the Shadows
- Work with Mexico
President Obama understands the importance and urgency in fixing the broken immigration system and outlined his vision for a 21st century immigration policy:
- Responsibility by the federal government to secure our borders:Today, our borders are more secure than at any time in the past several decades, and the Administration continues to refine and strengthen its strategy. Enforcement resources should be focused on preventing those who would do our nation harm from entering our country.
- Accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers: Employers who deliberately hire and exploit undocumented workers must be held accountable. At the same time, we must give employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
- Strengthening our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that reflects our values and diverse needs: Our immigration laws should continue to reunify families and encourage individuals we train in our world-class institutions to stay and develop new technologies and industries in the United States rather than abroad. The law should stop punishing innocent young people whose parents brought them here illegally and give those young men and women a chance to stay in this country if they serve in the military or pursue higher education. A smart 21st century system should also provide farmers a legal way to hire the workers they rely on year after year, and it should improve procedures for employers who seek to hire foreign workers for jobs if U.S. workers are not available.
- Responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally: Those people living here illegally must also be held accountable for their actions and get on the right side of the law by registering and undergoing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English before they can get in line to become eligible for citizenship. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with fundamental responsibilities. We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair and reflects our values.
For the immediate time President Obama has issued these important policies for immigration:
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
President Obama’s new DREAM relief policy [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA] would allow undocumented youth who qualify to request temporary relief from deportation, making them eligible to receive work permits and a social security number. For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/15/remarks-president-immigration
Family Unity Immigration Policy Change
President Obama’s final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at http://www.uscis.gov/.
DHS Announces Proposals to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants
As part of the Administration’s continuing commitment to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the publication of two proposed rules, including a rule to extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers, and a proposal to enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States.
Issue Guidance for School Districts to Ensure Equal Access for All Children to Public Schools, Regardless of Immigration Status
Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced updated guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools to ensure enrollment processes are consistent with the law and fulfill their obligation to provide all children—no matter their background—equal access to an education.July 08, 2014
FACT SHEET: Emergency Supplemental Request to Address the Increase in Child and Adult Migration from Central America in the Rio Grande Valley Areas of the Southwest Border
While overall rates of apprehensions across our Southwest border remain at near historic lows, apprehensions and processing of children and individuals from Central America crossing the border in the Rio Grande Valley have continued at high rates. The Administration continues to address this urgent humanitarian situation with a whole-of government response which includes efforts by the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) to deploy additional enforcement resources — including immigration judges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys, and asylum officers — to focus on individuals and adults traveling with children from Central America and entering without authorization across the Southwest border. Part of this surge includes detention of adults traveling with children, as well as expanded use of the Alternatives to Detention program, to avoid a more significant humanitarian situation. DHS is working to secure additional space that satisfies applicable legal and humanitarian standards for detention of adults with children. This surge of resources means that cases are processed fairly and as quickly as possible, ensuring the protection of asylum seekers and refugees while enabling the prompt removal of individuals who do not qualify for asylum or other forms of relief from removal. Finally, to attack the criminal organizations and smuggling rings that are exploiting these individuals, agencies are surging law enforcement task forces in cooperation with our international partners, with a focus on stepped-up interdiction and prosecution.
Links to Immigration Resources
For a General Overview and More Information, see:
- Immigration Records (Ship Passenger Arrival Records)
- Chinese Immigration and Chinese in the United States: Records in NARA’s Regional Archives
- Documenting Immigrants: An Examination of Immigration and Naturalization Service Case Files by Paul Wormser. Paper for CIDS Program, 1995.
- Case Files for Early Immigrants to San Francisco and Hawaii, Early Arrivals Records Search (EARS), a collaboration between U.C. Berkeley and the National Archive
- View Selected Chinese Immigration Records Online
- The Red Star Line: Changing America’s Face and Place in the World
- Genealogical CD-ROMS on Immigration in the Archives Library Information Center, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
- Naturalization Records
- Alien Records
- Criminal Alien Program
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Delegation of Immigration Authority, 287(g)
- ICE Parental Interest Directive
- Rapid REPAT
- Removal Statistics
- Secure Communities
Victim of Immigration Crime?
Are you a U.S. citizens or detained wrongfully?
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Toll-free hotline – (855) 448-6903
President Obama’s Immigration Timeline:
- 4/7/15 U.S. appeals court rejects challenge to 2012 Obama deportation relief
- 2/24/15 DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence
- 2/23/15 U.S. Justice Department asks for stay to allow immigration action
- 2/5/15 Pres Obama hosts DREAMers from around the nation who qualified for his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
- 2/2/15 Pres Obama recognizes and reaffirms true government-to-government relations and in honoring the trust responsibility to American Indian tribes pursuant to treaties and the U.S. Constitution
- 1/15/15 Mexican government began issuing birth certificates to its citizens at its consulates in the US
- 1/5/15 Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson’s revised guidance on Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants
- 11/21/14 FACT SHEET: The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System
- 11/21/14 Presidential Memorandum — Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees
- 11/21/14 Presidential Memorandum — Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century
- 11/21/14 Department of Homeland Security Fixing Our Broken Immigration System Through Executive Action – Key Facts
- 11/21/14 President Obama delivered remarks and signs the Executive Orders on Immigration Reform
- 11/20/14 President Obama addressed the Nation on his Immigration Reform Presidente Obama Se Dirige a la Nación (Subtitulado al Español)
“We didn’t raise the Statue of Liberty with her back to the world, we did it with her light shining as a beacon to the world. And whether we were Irish or Italians or Germans crossing the Atlantic, or Japanese or Chinese crossing the Pacific; whether we crossed the Rio Grande or flew here from all over the world — generations of immigrants have made this country into what it is. It’s what makes us special.”