Global Politics

New deportation policy goes into effect in US

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Immigration rally at Washington Square Park in New York City, May 1, 2007 (Photo: Flickr user Boss Tweed)

Story from The Takeaway. Listen to audio above for full report.

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Last week, the Obama administration announced a dramatic shift in its deportation policy for undocumented immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security will narrow its focus when it comes to deportation efforts, deporting only those undocumented immigrants who have criminal records or pose a threat to national security.

Undocumented immigrants with clean records will be able to apply for work permits. The department is also suspending any previously assigned deportations for immigrants who have not committed crimes beyond immigration violations. It's a big step for the administration, which has already set a modern record for deportations.

One of the first people granted a reprieve under the new policy is Manuel Guerr. "This is something great for me ... to me it's a miracle," he told The Takeaway.

Guerr had fought a five-year battle to avoid deportation. His attorney, Richard Hujber, thinks less than half of those facing deportation will get reprieves.

"I don't think that many of the cases pending in court will be terminated,"  Hujber said. "I think it will be probably less than half, frankly."

PRI Facebook fan Kimberley Coppage Rivero had this to say:

Doesn't this feel a little like when "Don't ask, don't tell" was put in place? We are letting you stay illegally, but we promise to look the other way. I am absolutely in favor of the US relaxing its crazy rigid stance against immigrants, I think this new policy is a much needed first step in the right direction. And I can see that Obama is using the power he has. He may not be able to pass immigration reform, but he can relax enforcement. I'd still rather they passed immigration reform though.

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"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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