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Obama's Unilateral Action Harms Legal Immigrants and American Families

A new article from the New York Times suggests that President Obama's unilateral deferred deportation program for young illegal aliens is diverting resources to the extent that family members of U.S. citizens and legal residents are having a hard time entering the country:

Many thousands of Americans seeking green cards for foreign spouses or other immediate relatives have been separated from them for a year or more because of swelling bureaucratic delays at a federal immigration agency in recent months.

The long waits came when the agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, shifted attention and resources to a program President Obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants, according to administration officials and official data.

The trouble that American citizens have faced gaining permanent resident visas for their families raises questions about the agency’s priorities and its readiness to handle what could become a far bigger task. After Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said on Thursday that the House was not likely to act on an immigration overhaul this year, immigrant advocates are turning up their pressure on Mr. Obama to expand the deferral program to include many more of the 11.7 million immigrants in the country illegally....

Until recently, an American could obtain a green card for a spouse, child or parent — probably the easiest document in the immigration system — in five months or less. But over the past year, waits for approvals of those resident visas stretched to 15 months, and more than 500,000 applications became stuck in the pipeline, playing havoc with international moves and children’s schools and keeping families apart....

After Mr. Obama announced the deferral program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, in 2012, he gave Citizenship and Immigration Services only two months to get it running. Agency officials scrambled. As of last week, 521,815 youths had received deferrals, with the agency handling more than 2,000 applications a day....

But soon after the deferrals were underway, Americans with green card applications felt the impact.

“You end up seeing a steep decline in approvals for people like me who followed the law,” said Forrest Nabors, 47, a political science professor at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, who filed in July for a green card for his wife, Zdenka, who is Czech.

 I believe that immigrants who are the spouses or minor children of American citizens or legal residents should come before any efforts to legalize illegal aliens.  Unfortunately, President Obama's unilateral decision to grant deferred action to illegal aliens is forcing USCIS to prioritize illegal aliens and leave family members of Americans waiting in line for more than 12 months.

 According to an article in the New York Times, the president's decision to grant deferred action to illegal aliens without giving USCIS sufficient notice is forcing the agency to prioritize illegal aliens over green cards for close family members of American citizens:

 "Many thousands of Americans seeking green cards for foreign spouses or other immediate relatives have been separated from them for a year or more because of swelling bureaucratic delays at a federal immigration agency in recent months.

 "The long waits came when the agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, shifted attention and resources to a program President Obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants, according to administration officials and official data.

 "The trouble that American citizens have faced gaining permanent resident visas for their families raises questions about the agency's priorities and its readiness to handle what could become a far bigger task."

 In fact, the article says that a process that used to take five months or fewer is now taking fifteen months or more.  I think it's horrible that illegal aliens -- more than 500,000 at last count -- are being prioritized and the spouses and minor children of Americans and legal immigrants are being punished due to President Obama's decision to grant deferred action.

 I hope green card-seeking family members of American citizens and legal residents do not continue to suffer at the hands of illegal aliens.