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Human rights group says US immigration plan ‘laudable but incomplete’

Published:Sunday | November 23, 2014 | 10:34 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, CMC – A major human rights group in the United States has described as “laudable but incomplete” President Obama’s executive actions to fix the US’ “broken immigration system” by halting deportations of certain undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants.

On Saturday, Human Rights Watch noted that the president’s decision will protect millions of people from the “corrosive threat of removal".

"The plan outlined, while deficient in key respects, will keep eligible families intact and help immigrants resist workplace and other abuses without fear of deportation,” the human rights group said.

“President Obama’s plan to keep nearly 5 million immigrants and their families from being broken apart by deportation is a strike against arbitrary cruelty,” said Antonio Ginatta, US advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

"By ordering major reforms to immigration enforcement, Obama is improving public safety and making millions of people less vulnerable to abuse.”

Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions expands eligibility for already-existing “temporary legal status” for migrants who came as children, and offers a similar temporary status for the parents of US citizens and permanent residents.

Other aspects of the plan make it easier for families to stay together by offering relief to people who would otherwise be eligible for family visas but for bureaucratic backlogs, Human Rights Watch noted.

But Human Rights Watch said other abusive practices against immigrants are “unaddressed and possibly worsened under the plan,” stating that Obama declined to provide protection against deportation to immediate relatives, including parents, of young people with deferred deportation status.

In 2012, Human Rights Watch said the Obama administration had announced that it would defer deportation for certain migrants brought to the United States as children.

The group said that over half a million people have already qualified for temporary relief under this program.

Human Rights Watch said the president’s plan also fails to mandate that Border Patrol or other immigration enforcement officers always consider the need to keep families intact.

“Obama’s plan is a temporary reprieve for millions and a first step in the right direction, but the need for a more lasting and comprehensive solution remains,” Ginatta added.


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Jamaica Gleaner

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