Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration: Who Will Benefit and Who Got Left Out

President Obama announced changes to the nation’s immigration policies that he will make by executive order. There are many details yet to be announced. However, two distinct groups will definitely benefit:

*  Undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years will be able to stay if they have a child who is a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident; and

*  The 1.2 million DREAMers who were exempted in 2012.

President Obama said that what his policy means for immigrants who are covered is that they will not be deported. But the order goes farther than that. The changes will grant work permits for those who are eligible, which will allow them to be legally employed. In theory, at least, the immigrants covered by this order will now be able to compete for better paying jobs. Another effect of the order will be to expand STEM programs for foreign students.

Still, another 6.2 undocumented immigrants will be left out of the changes made by the executive order. Most of them do not have children, and the order is aimed at those who do. Also, the executive order will not benefit the parents of DREAMers. The order contains no new protections for migrant or agricultural workers. And any changes in border security have not yet been divulged.

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