While the courts have blocked President Obama’s sweeping executive amnesty programs, other aspects of Obama’s immigration edicts have served to shield more than 80 percent of the illegal immigrant population from deportation, the Washington Times reports.
According to reporting by Stephan Dinan, the implementation of other executive actions on immigration announced exactly a year ago Friday— specifically the administration’s changes to “priorities” for enforcement — has essentially served to order “agents not to bother deporting nearly all illegal immigrants.”
The changes saw the Department of Homeland Security revamp the immigrants it prioritizes for enforcement to include mainly just serious criminal aliens, gang members, national security threats and recent border crossers. As Dinan reports:
The changes are already having a major effect. Deportations, which peaked at nearly 410,000 in fiscal year 2012, dropped to about 230,000 in fiscal year 2015, which ended Sept. 30. But Mr. Johnson said more of those being deported are the serious criminals and safety threats he wants his agents to worry about.
Indeed, if agents adhere strictly to his priorities, some 9.6 million of the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the country have no real danger of being deported, according to an estimate this year by the Migration Policy Institute.
Dinan notes that the changes to enforcement priorities were not the only actions that have made life easier for immigrants in the U.S. and those seeking admission.
The actions — often mislabeled by the press as executive orders — also included changes to the legal immigration system, such as making it easier for spouses of guest workers to also find jobs; allowing foreigners who study science and technology at U.S. universities to remain and work in the country longer; pushing legal immigrants to apply for citizenship; and waiving the penalty on illegal immigrant spouses or children of legal permanent residents so they no longer have to go to their home countries to await legal status.