Undocumented immigrants confront financial, emotional and psychological issues daily. Amidst these concerns, they also remain subject to legal developments that can change all of the above. Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the Biden administration has discretion on how to prioritize undocumented immigrants for deportation.
Efficient use of resources vs. letter of the law
In April of 2021, Texas and Louisiana sued the Biden administration for changing immigration priorities. The states contend that a memorandum issued by the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security instructed agents to target undocumented immigrants convicted of felonies or who pose a risk to public safety. Specifically, they claim that under immigration law, the federal government has to deport all immigrants ordered for deportation, regardless of resources. Consequences of selective enforcement require states to incur costs for incarceration, education and health care.
The federal government argues that insufficient resources to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants brought on the enforcement change. The memorandum reflects the need for the administration to use its resources efficiently. Furthermore, no evidence exists to conclude that the change will result in less enforcement overall. The Obama administration issued similar guidance, but the funds allocated expected only to deport a certain number of undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants in Michigan
The impact of a change in policy could impact the United States in terms of resources. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Border Patrol has arrested more than 12,000 criminal non-citizens for fiscal year 2022. In Oakland County, the effects could extend to all aspects of daily life. The increase in undocumented residents has affected health care delivery as well as providing significant economic contributions and tax revenue.
New policies on immigration require more than legal knowledge. Whether related to status enforcement or eligibility for benefits, changes to the law require constant observation. Attorneys who understand the outcomes for families and their livelihood can offer guidance.