We have heard a lot recently about President Obama's executive action on immigration. Here is what can be expected to come.
Nationwide, there are an estimated 11.4 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Some states have lower undocumented populations than others, and, for the most part, will be unaffected by Mr. Obama's actions.
Estimates by the Migration Policy Institute say that as many as 5.2 million people could get relief from his order. The biggest impact, estimates show, will be in California, with more than 1.5 million immigrants who qualify. Texas is second with almost a quarter million, followed by only eight other states with over 100,000 eligible immigrants.
Here's a map showing the most affected states:
Specifically, the presidents actions will shield certain undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to apply for a three-year work permit if they can pass a background check and register with the government. The offer applies to parents of children who are US citizens and to children brought into the US prior to January 1, 2010, expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
The impact of legal status has economic benefits. It allows certain immigrants to open bank accounts and, in some states, receive driving licenses. This will provide purchasing power and economic relief for better job opportunities. The White House's Council of Economic Advisers estimates that these actions will increase economic output by 0.4 to 0.9 percent over 10 years. That is an increase in GDP from $90 billion to $210 billion.
Yet, the most important impact to the President's immigration action depends on how many people sign up.
“There's going to be a segment of the population that just will not apply because of the fear of giving their information to the government, fear of exposing family members who are not eligible,” says Vanessa Esparza-Lopez, an attorney for the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center.
Signing up also requires a $465 application fee along with proving you have been in the country for five years, which can be challenging for some.
The executive action is in place, so unless Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform, undocumented immigrants have two years to apply for temporary legal status.