WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The White House is considering small steps in the near term to ease the threat of deportation for some undocumented immigrants, but advocates in communication with the administration expect President Barack Obama to make bigger changes later in the year.
With legislation to reform U.S. immigration policy stalled in Congress, Obama has come under increasing pressure from the immigrant community to take executive action to curb the rate of deportation that has reached a record level under his presidency.
In the coming weeks, an Obama-ordered review of deportation enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security is expected to conclude that certain steps should be taken to ensure that some immigrants who have not committed serious crimes should be allowed to remain in the United States, according to several sources familiar with the review.
Those steps could include shortening the time period an immigrant is considered “new” and therefore under increased scrutiny for deportation, deeper background checks of detainees in considering whether they should be deported, and protecting immigrants serving in the U.S military from deportation.
That would fall short of demands from immigration advocates who have asked Obama, among other things, to expand his deferred action program that currently protects children brought to the country by their undocumented parents. Advocates’ wish lists also include government-issued IDs or work permits for immigrants who are not seen as a high priority for deportation.