Last week the Obama Administration instituted a new immigration policy that would review all 300,000 pending deportation cases and decide which cases would be fast tracked for removal. The new policy would attempt to highlight “high priority” cases and focus the already-strained efforts of immigration officers on deporting those individuals.
Individuals would qualify as a “high priority” if they have a lengthy criminal history or a serious felony, have been deemed a national security threat, are members of a gang, or have multiple immigration violations.
The new initiative would allow the Obama Administration to spare some of the undocumented immigrants it attempted to protect with the failed Dream Act legislation. The Dream Act, which was defeated by mostly Republican opposition last year, would have allowed young people who came to this country as children and are either enrolled in college or serving in the military to pursue a pathway to citizenship.
While critics argue that President Obama’s stance on limiting the deportation of young people amounts to amnesty, others argue that the policy would not only allow families to stay intact, but also provided needed opportunities to young people who have already demonstrated they are productive members of society.
Despite what side of the debate you fall on, one thing is clear: President Obama’s new immigration policy will play well with Hispanic voters–a very important demographic–next fall.