Obama's action is expected to help a significant number of Indians in the technology field, especially those having H-1B visas
US President Barack Obama on Friday used his executive power to announce a series of administrative measures to provide legal status to more than five million illegal immigrants in the country, including those from India.
The executive actions, said to be one of the largest measure by a US President on immigration, are expected to help a significant number of Indians in the technology field, especially those having H-1B visas.
The executive actions is expected to benefit five million of the estimated 11 million undocumented workers.
In a televised address to the nation yesterday evening, Obama said he is taking these actions after Republicans in the Congress posed hurdles in the way of a comprehensive immigration reform. He announced three major actions.
"First, we'll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over," Obama said.
"Second, I'll make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed. Third, we'll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country," he said.
Obama said even as the US is a nation of immigrants, it is also a nation of laws and undocumented workers broke the country's immigration laws and must be held accountable, especially those who may be dangerous.
"That's why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 per cent. And that's why we're going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children.
Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids. We'll prioritise, just like law enforcement does every day," he said.
Photograph: Joshua Lott/Reuters