Limits on deportations under consideration
WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is weighing limiting deportations of immigrants living in the United States illegally who don't have serious criminal records, according to two people with knowledge of his deliberations.
The change, if adopted after an ongoing review ordered by President Obama, could shield tens of thousands of immigrants now removed each year solely because they committed repeat immigration violations, such as re-entering the country illegally after having been deported, failing to comply with a deportation order or missing an immigration court date.
However, it would fall short of the changes sought by activists. They want Obama to expand a two-year-old program that grants work permits to certain immigrants brought here illegally as children to include other groups, such as the parents of any children born in the United States.
John Sandweg, who served until February as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said he had promoted the policy change for immigrants without serious criminal records before his departure and that it was being weighed by Johnson. An immigration advocate who's discussed the review with the administration confirmed the change was under consideration. The advocate spoke on condition of anonymity because the proceedings are confidential.
“Any report of specific considerations at this time would be premature,” said Clark Stevens, a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department. Stevens said Johnson “has undergone a very rigorous and inclusive process to best inform the review,” including seeking input from people within DHS as well as lawmakers of both parties, and other stakeholders.