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Influential CAPAC offers immigration reform proposals

In the wake of the Obama administration's announcement that it was undertaking a comprehensive review of existing deportation policies in an attempt to determine if they could be administered in a more logical and perhaps more humane manner, several groups have come forward to offer recommendations.

To illustrate, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus -- a group whose stated purposes include "work[ing] with other members and caucuses to protect and advance the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans" -- recently submitted an eight-page proposal to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

One of the primary proposals advanced by CAPAC is to alter the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program to include a larger percentage of the undocumented immigrant population.

Specifically, CAPAC members recommend altering the qualifying conditions for the DACA program, such that its temporary deportation reprieve would not be limited to just those people who were here in the U.S. prior to the age of 16 and born on or after June 16, 1981. Rather, the date restriction would be eliminated under their recommendation, such that anyone who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 would qualify for the DACA program.

The CAPAC members reason that implementing such a step would serve to keep more families together, as roughly 5.1 million children here in the U.S. are currently members of mixed-status families. This essentially means that some family members have citizenship while others are here illegally.

"As DHS conducts its review of enforcement policies and practices, we strongly urge you to take bold action to stop the pain inflicted on families through deportations and detention," reads the proposal.

Another "key and critical recommendation" made by the CAPAC members is for DHS to consider principles of both family unity and fairness in its enforcement of immigration laws. In other words, they call on the agency to focus more on deporting those who have committed serious crimes than those whose only crime is living as an undocumented immigrant.

It will be interesting to see what approach the Obama administration ultimately adopts.

What are your thoughts on these recommendations by CAPAC members?

Remember to consider speaking with a legal professional if you have questions about family immigration-related matters.

Source: Politico, "Asian caucus recommends immigration changes," Seung Min Kim, April 30, 2014

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