According to the Associated Press, the Obama Administration recently recommended that more than 1,600 current U.S. deportation cases be canceled.
Recently pledging to focus its efforts on those immigration cases involving criminal behavior, the White House has advised immigration authorities to reconsider deportations of undocumented residents with no criminal history.
The news does not create new immigration forms or alter any of the current immigration services available to illegal immigrants. For example, while many critics of the recommendation have called the move an act of “backdoor amnesty” that will now allow these undocumented immigrants the ability to apply for work visas or employment authorization forms, no immigration laws have been changed.
While many undocumented immigrants will be happy to no longer face the threat of deportation, many advocates for the case cancellations are frustrated by the lack of opportunities available for immigrants who were permitted to stay, according to The New York Times.
Without the right to obtain a driver’s license and facing difficulties with employment, the undocumented immigrants granted a deportation reprieve still face a difficult situation. “They will be in immigration purgatory,” Hans Meyer, a Denver immigration expert, told the Times.
These recommendations have not yet been finalized, and so there is no guarantee that any case has officially been dropped, as of yet. In response to why this is the case, one official who wished to remain anonymous told the AP, “we wanted to triple check.”
Cases affected by the recommendation are largely isolated to the Baltimore and Denver areas. Starting in early December, immigration court dockets from both cities were suspended while immigration officials looked at their backlogs of pending deportations. According to The New York Times, 16 immigration prosecutors took over the huge task starting on December 5, often working long days that stretched into the weekend to meet their mid-January deadline to determine case priority. Deadlines for the project were set by the Department of Homeland Security.