The presidents of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, the leading source countries of illegal immigrants in the United States, hailed Obama’s executive decree to stop the deportation of many of their compatriots.
Obama’s unilateral measures will shield nearly five million illegal immigrant from U.S. immigration laws by granting them work permits, Social Security numbers, and deportation reprieves.
In administering the president’s overhaul of America’s immigration laws, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will prioritize the removal of certain serious criminal aliens.
Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are the top four countries where the majority of illegal aliens in the United States originate, according to the latest DHS estimate of the unauthorized immigrant population living in the U.S. The DHS data is consistent with most recent estimates by the Pew Hispanic Center.
About 73 percent of the estimated 11.4 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. were born in Mexico (6.7 million), El Salvador (690,000), Guatemala (560,000), and Honduras (360,000), DHS data shows.
Many of the governments of those nations used the word “relief” in welcoming President Obama’s executive order and none mentioned any efforts to try to keep their citizens from leaving. Breitbart News reported that illegal aliens from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are sending billions back in remittances to their home countries. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that remittances to Mexico are in the billions as well.
“These measures are a relief for migrants, especially of Mexican origin, [and] are the most important that have been taken [by the U.S.] in several decades, virtually in the last 30 years,” he added.
The majority, about 60 percent, of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico, the DHS estimate shows.
“The Government of El Salvador, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expresses its satisfaction at the announcement made this November 20 by the President of United States of America, Barack Obama, on executive action to be implemented for the benefit of millions of undocumented immigrants who are in that nation,” wrote Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez in a statement in Spanish entitled “El Salvador is Pleased With the Immigration Relief Measure Announced by the U.S.”
Salvadorans make up 6 percent of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S., making El Salvador the second leading source nation for unauthorized aliens.
“President Otto Perez Molina expressed his satisfaction with the immigration policy measures taken by the U.S. government, which would favor thousands of Guatemalans with a temporary permission to stay in that country,” said the presidential office of Guatemala in a statement in Spanish.
Perez Molina estimated that as many as 100,000 Guatemalans could benefit from Obama’s immigration decree.
An estimated five percent of the illegal immigrants in the U.S are from Guatemala, making that country the third leading source of unauthorized aliens.
“The government of Honduras welcomes the announcement of U.S. President, Barack Obama, to generate a relief to some five million undocumented immigrants living in the [U.S.]… which will benefit hundreds of thousands of Hondurans,” said the presidential office in Honduras in a statement in Spanish.
“The move by President Obama, who made use of an executive power prerogative, will strengthen relations between the United States and Latin America, especially in Honduras, and it shows how two countries can work for the common good,” it added.
Hondurans make up nearly three percent of the illegal immigrant population. Honduras and El Salvador urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Under the executive order, “DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes,” a White House fact sheet explains.
“Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement,” the document adds.