By BTL staff
Earlier today, senior members of the Obama Administration announced a new process to review and potentially stay deportations of certain non-criminal immigrants – including bi-national same-sex couples.
300,000 immigrants are currently in the deportation process. This new program would individually review those cases, seeking those who are not criminals, those who have not re-entered the country after a prior deportation, and those who did not recently enter the country. These non-criminal, “low-priority” cases would then be eligible for a stay of deportation.
The Washington Blade reports: Administration officials will weigh a person’s ties and contributions to the community and family relationships. During an on background conference call with media outlets on Thursday, a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said these criteria are inclusive of LGBT families and same-sex couples.
The move comes after years of congressional inaction on comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act. While this decision will not bring about a permanent solution to the problem, its proper implementation could help many families who have lived, worked, and paid taxes in the U.S. for many years from being torn apart by deportation.
Cindy Estrada, international vice president of the United Auto Workers, expressed her gratitude to the president, but reiterated the call of comprehensive immigration reform. “This is certainly a step in the right direction and a victory for immigrants and their families. We thank the president for recognizing the need for this humane change in policy. Implemented properly, this directive will keep families together and our communities safe. However, we must continue the fight for comprehensive immigration reform that will finally protect immigrant and American workers, keep families together, and allow students to achieve their dreams.”
Some unanswered questions remain regarding the program, including the timeline for implementation, the composition of the committee, and the exact criteria for relief.
“We’re glad that the president has acted to reform some of the flaws in our immigration enforcement. We certainly should not be wasting our time or tax dollars targeting immigrant families who are simply working hard, raising families, and paying taxes. If properly and swiftly implemented, this process could restore some much-needed balance and fairness to our system,” said Ryan Bates, director of the Alliance for Immigrants Rights & Reform – Michigan.
This Saturday thousands of community members will take part in the March Without Fear to express their opposition to racial profiling by Border Patrol and police departments. The March is sponsored by the Detroit NAACP, the United Auto Workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Service Employees International Union and the Alliance for Immigrants Rights. The marchers will meet at noon in Clark Park and head East on Vernor Avenue.