The executive action regarding immigration, announced by President Barack Obama on November 20, 2014, offers significant relief for a large number of immigrants across the country, including many in the Caribbean-American community. It is well known that many Caribbean Americans who came to this country with the hope for a better future for their children and themselves will benefit from this executive action, which offers relief especially to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for at least 5 years.
Although these measures are not permanent, they represent a significant step towards the comprehensive immigration reform that the United States desperately needs. The measures are structured such that they are entirely within the prosecutorial discretion of the Obama Administration to determine which immigrants may be targeted for deportation given the government’s limited resources. They make no permanent change to the law, but rather they delineate how the government will enforce the law. The United States Congress may reverse these measures through legislation or a future President may do so through his or her own executive action. Accordingly, those seeking a permanent resolution will have to continue their efforts lobbying the country’s leaders for further reform. Likewise, we urge all within the Caribbean-American community to inform and educate themselves on the scope of the executive action by visiting www.whitehouse.gov/immigration or www.dhs.gov.