BOSTON (CBS) – An estimated 65,000 immigrants living in Massachusetts illegally, including 25,000 children, will be eligible to enroll in programs outlined by President Barack Obama’s executive order that would protect them from deportation, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Obama announced the executive order Thursday night, aimed at overhauling the nation’s immigration system. His plan would keep as many as 5 million people living in the US illegally from getting deported and would give 3-year work permits for many eligible undocumented workers.READ MORE: Man Secretly Buys Ice Cream For Everyone In Line At Nanabette's In Woburn
The plan lays out an application process that experts say may cause a backlog for the Department of Homeland Security, which is tasked to review and approve the applications.
“It’s probably unlikely that all 5 million people that are potentially covered by these programs will be able in the time left of President Obama’s administration to get all the way through an application process,” Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the US Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
The order can be reversed once a new president takes office.READ MORE: Massachusetts State House Remains Closed To Public Weeks After COVID Restrictions Lifted
The President’s order will not grant illegal immigrants the chance to obtain citizenship. Eligible immigrants would also not be entitled to federal benefits under Obama’s plan.
Although the order faces a reversal with a new administration, Rosenblum says in the meantime, it is unlikely that those who are eligible to enroll in the programs will be deported even if they don’t complete the application process.
“Unless they’ve committed a serious crime or for some other reason become a high priority for being deported, they’re not going to be put in removal proceedings,” said Rosenblum. “DHS will allow them to defensively apply for the program once they get picked up.”MORE NEWS: Gillette Stadium Mass COVID Vaccination Site Closes
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