by RUBY AUJLA
On Thursday, November 20, President Obama declared his plans for immigration reform for the nation. Congress has failed to pass a comprehensive reform bill on the issue, which led Obama to make necessary changes to the immigration system without consent from Congress.
Rather than ordering mass amnesty or mass deportation, Obama’s new plan protects law-abiding undocumented individuals; immigration authorities will be instructed to target dangerous undocumented immigrants instead. Undocumented immigrants must meet certain criteria and can temporarily reside in the nation for three years; however, they must pass background checks and pay back taxes. Even though immigrants who meet criteria and abide the guidelines can stay temporarily for three years, they will not be provided a road to eventual citizenship and will be considered ineligible for health care programs and federal benefits.
Other changes to the immigration system in Obama’s order include offering papers and work authorization to undocumented parents of legal citizens, as long as they have lived in the United States for at least five years. Obama’s order will also remove the upper age limit from a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Any immigrant who arrived in the country before 2010 will be covered by the program and receive a three-year guarantee of relief, instead of the previous two-year guarantee.
Obama’s plan has been met with mixed responses from various political leaders; while some may disagree with the current order, nearly all leaders and citizens feel that changes must be made to the immigration system.