“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience.”
–John F. Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants
The United States has historically been a melting pot of immigrants, each immigrant community bringing an additional ingredient to the rich mélange that is the U.S. population. As such, immigrants have been instrumental in helping build this country and are an intrinsic part of American history. However, Immigrant communities have been waiting for months for immigration reforms to meet the growing needs of the people. Unfortunately, Congress has been unable to agree on any actions to meet current immigration needs. Every U.S. President since 1965 has made executive decisions on immigration issues, and President Obama is no exception. The President has broad executive authority to shape the enforcement and implementation of immigration laws. The President can exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer deportations and streamline adjudications. Already, President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, has deferred deportation for young adults brought to the U.S. as children. Further reform focusing on circumventing family separation is one of the main areas expected to be addressed soon by the Obama administration.
DHS has been conducting spot inspections of detention facilities. Conditions that may warrant additional inspections include increases in UAC apprehensions that result in many UAC being held in CBP facilities longer than 72 hours and credible allegations of
DHS employee misconduct. During one routine spot inspection, DHS observed that CBP personnel did not properly segregate a UAC with a communicable disease. They also did not ensure that food and water were readily available. CBP agents working at that time were unfamiliar with the protocol for dealing with UAC resulting in the above failures. A second inspection of the facility a week later was required. During the subsequent inspection, food and water were readily available and the station had addressed all issues from the previous spot inspection and only CBP employees familiar with UAC were assigned to that facility. DHS has promised to continue monitoring the welfare of UAC and conducting spot checks of CBP facilities for compliance with protocol. Border Patrol apprehensions of UAC declined three fold since June 2014, from over 10,000 detainees per month to a little over 3,000/month in the subsequent months. Only a limited number of CBP facilities are processing UAC. CBP personnel are transferring most UAC to appropriate Health and Human Services (HHS) housing within 6 hours.
As of 2014, immigrant women slightly outnumber immigrant men in the United States. Nearly half of all immigrant women are naturalized U.S. citizens. Immigrant women number more than 20 million in the U.S. today, and are making their presence felt in U.S. society. More than a quarter of immigrant women have a bachelor’s degree or even higher education. On average, 56.4 percent of foreign-born women were in the labor force in 2012, compared to 59.2 percent of native-born women. Of all employed women in the United States, 15 percent are foreign-born women. Immigrant women can be found working in every field, with one-third being in management and professional occupations, nearly a third work in service occupations and a little less than a quarter work in sales and office occupations. Clearly, the economic contributions of immigrant women are important to the U.S. economy.