Future of Undocumented Immigrants Still Uncertain Even After Obama’s Immigration Policy Deal

By Daniela Tagtachian, Associate Editor Vol. 20

On Thursday, November 20, 2014 Obama announced his plan to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and be protected from deportation temporarily. Obama plans on using an executive order to enact this temporary protection.

Excerpt from Obama’s Speech:

“So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.

Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. …. It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. Only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.”

 A path to becoming legal residents of the United States has been a dream of the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country for a very long time. Obama’s “deal” has been long awaited. However, since Obama made it clear that this deal is not a path to citizenship or to stay in the country permanently and that “[o]nly Congress can do that” – this leaves undocumented immigrants in a distressed state.

Should undocumented immigrants take the deal?

If the next President is a Republican, or he/she doesn’t share Obama’s view on the appropriate fate of immigrants, or if Congress enacts a law that will end the reform and deport all of the undocumented immigrants in a few years– the undocumented immigrants would be in quite an unfortunate situation. If the reform ends – the government would have a list of everyone to deport since the undocumented immigrants must register under Obama’s deal.

It’s clear that the temporary protection from deportation in Obama’s deal is better than having no legal protection, which is what undocumented immigrants currently have, but at least they currently have anonymity. Without knowing what will happen if this temporary reform ends, they risk losing their anonymity, which will increase their chances of being deported.

Read more: