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New Immigration Measures Neither Amnesty Nor Path To Work Permits

Audio

Aired 8/30/11

A major recent announcement by the Obama administration has raised the hopes of many undocumented immigrants. But some lawyers say it's still too early to tell if optimism is warranted.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests over 2,400 convicted criminal aliens, fugitives in enforcement operation throughout all 50 states.
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Above: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests over 2,400 convicted criminal aliens, fugitives in enforcement operation throughout all 50 states.

— The new Obama Administration policy on prosecutorial discretion grants officials and arresting officers the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether an undocumented immigrant should stay in the country or be deported.

Many immigrants and their advocates see the change as the path to legalization and a work permit, while opponents say it is basically a back door amnesty.

But Lilia Velasquez, an immigration attorney based in San Diego, would disagree with both interpretations. Since the announcement was made last week, she has been warning dozens of clients who call her office not to count on the new policy as a path to permanence here.

"In terms of getting a document that says that they're legal, a work permit? No, that's not what the measure means," said Velasquez. "I tell my clients, 'let's wait for this policy to develop,' because that's what they're trying to do right now, set a criteria under which those cases will be reviewed. So we're still in the planning stages."

Many other immigration lawyers across the country are reporting a rise in legalization requests from undocumented immigrants eager to get their status normalized. Attorneys like Velasquez are advising clients to avoid arrest, even if they think it will get them in front of a judge faster.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 30, 2011 at 10:44 a.m. ― 2 years, 7 months ago

Funny how the Nativists get all worked up over something that simply si not true.

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Avatar for user 'silverslugger'

silverslugger | August 30, 2011 at 9:38 p.m. ― 2 years, 7 months ago

Bu bu but Fox news said so...

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 31, 2011 at 12:46 p.m. ― 2 years, 7 months ago

lol

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | September 4, 2011 at 3:25 p.m. ― 2 years, 7 months ago

We should make it easier for people to obtain citizenship, but not encourage people to come illegally simply because that's the way it's always been done. It does not teach or represent to anyone that our laws are there for a reason. Look at the immigration problems in France and England. They allowed an influx of legal and illegal immigration to the point they have racial tension unmatcheds since the Civil Rights Movement in the US.

Our government and citizens need to put pressure on government officials in Third World Nations to improve how they treat their citizens. We need to help provide incentives with their economy so people are not compelled to leave in search of a better life. Only then will immigration slow.

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