‘30,000 illegal Indian immigrants to benefit from US policy’


WASHINGTON: At least 30,000 Indians would be among the 1.76 million undocumented illegal immigrants who would benefit from US President Barack Obama’s new policy to defer deportation of illegal immigrants for two years, a new study said.

Using current population survey data from the US Census Bureau, Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that as many as 1.76 million people, under the age of 31, could be at risk of being deported in the future or who are currently in removal proceedings could gain deferred action as a result of the Obama administration policy announced on June 15.

Of these 1.76 million illegal immigrants an estimated 30,000 each are from India, and Korea – the two top countries of origin outside Latin America, MPI said adding that two in three unauthorised immigrants potentially eligible for deferred action came from Mexico (1.17 million, or 65 per cent).

The next two countries of origin were El Salvador (slightly less than 60,000, or 3 per cent) and Guatemala (50,000, or 3 per cent).

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, which will decide applications on a case-by-case basis, will offer a two-year grant of reprieve from deportation as well as work authorisation to unauthorised immigrants who were under the age of 31 as of June 15, with certain conditions attached.

MPI estimates that 1.26 million of the 1.76 million potential beneficiaries are 15 or older and thus immediately meet the age requirement to apply for deferred action.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has stated that only those who are 15 or older are eligible to file for deferred action when the process gets underway on August 15 this year.

Five states – California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois – are home to 57 per cent of the total population of potential beneficiaries.

California has by far the largest population of potential beneficiaries, with 460,000, followed by Texas (210,000), Florida (140,000), New York (110,000) and Illinois (90,000).

Nearly three in four (or 1.3 million) prospective beneficiaries were born in Mexico or Central America.

Another 11 per cent (more than 180,000) came from the rest of Latin America, nine percent (about 170,000) from Asia and six per cent (about 110,000) from other parts of the world.

An estimated 800,000 children and youth who are potential beneficiaries are currently enrolled in the K-12 system, it said.

“The deferred action initiative, with its education requirements, offers these youth a significant incentive to stay in school and get their high school diploma,” said Margie McHugh, co-director of MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy.

MPI also estimates that 58 per cent of the prospective beneficiaries ages 15 and older are in the labor force.

“Beyond the relief from deportation, the grant of a work authorisation document to those who can demonstrate an economic necessity is likely to improve their chances for decent employment conditions and wages, especially for those who have higher levels of education,” said Doris Meissner, who directs MPI’s US Immigration Policy program.

PTI Aug 8, 2012


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