An estimated 87 percent of illegal immigrants in the United States will not face a threat of deportation from the U.S. and have “a degree of protection” due to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration enforcement, the Migration Policy Institute concludes in a new report.
The MPI report, issued Thursday, highlights the impact of the new policy guidance on immigration enforcement on the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. — namely the Obama administration’s move to replace the Secure Communities program with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP).
“MPI estimates that about 13 percent of unauthorized immigrants in the United States would be considered enforcement priorities under these policies, compared to 27 percent under the 2010-11 enforcement guidelines,” the report reads. “The net effect of this new guidance will likely be a reduction in deportations from within the interior of the United States as DHS detention and deportation resources are increasingly allocated to more explicitly defined priorities.”
MPI further estimates that the priority shift will reduce interior deportations from the U.S. by 25,000 annually.
It speculates that there are 1.4 million illegal immigrants with criminal convictions that would make them priorities for enforcement — lower than the 3 million MPI estimated under the 2010-201 guidelines.
“While much of the attention to the president’s executive action announcement has focused on the deferred action programs, which MPI has estimated could grant relief from deportation to as many as 5.2 million unauthorized immigrants, implementation of the new enforcement priorities is likely to affect about 9.6 million people,” Marc Rosenblum, report author and the deputy director of MPI’s U.S. immigration policy program, said.
The report comes as sanctuary cities are in the national spotlight following the murder of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by a multiple deportee, multiple felon illegal immigrant who was released from custody due to San Francisco’s sanctuary policy of not honoring immigration detainers.
Administration officials have argued that PEP will help to encourage more sanctuary jurisdictions to comply with detainers. Republicans have had harsh criticisms of PEP saying it will result in more criminal immigrants in the U.S.
“By defining its ‘priorities’ to exclude large categories of illegal immigrants, including those who have already been ordered deported or those who illegally reenter after having been deported, PEP ensures that countless more dangerous aliens will be released into U.S. communities—allowing otherwise entirely preventable crimes, including some of the most violent and egregious, to occur,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said earlier this month of PEP.
He added, “Immigration enforcement is not supposed to be a game of Russian roulette where we release habitual immigration violators into U.S. communities and hope and pray they don’t go on to commit additional criminal offenses.”