Obama relaxes deportation norms, illegal Indian immigrants to benefit

A large number, from among the 2.4 lakh Indians living illegally in the United States, have a reason to cheer after US President Barack Obama relaxed deportation norms for immigrants living illegally in the United States. The Obama administration on Friday decided to stop the deportation of young illegal immigrants under a new policy.

As per the new policy: anyone who has come to the US before they turned 16, has lived in the country for five continuous years, is not convicted of any crime, is not above the age of 30, is currently in school, has graduated from high school or has served in the US military, would not be deported for a period of at least two years, which is subject to renewal.

A report by the US Department of Homeland and Security on the status of illegal immigrants as of January 2011 states that India with 2.4 lakh illegal immigrants, ranks seventh among countries, whose nationals live illegally in the US.

Even as the Obama administration's decision is being seen as a measure aimed at his re-election, the relaxed deportation norms should come a blessing in disguise for Indians, particularly those under 30 years of age, living illegally in the US.

"The new policy will reward thousands of immigrants who came to USA at a young age, obeyed US law and continued their education," said attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who practices Immigration and Nationality law in the United States. "Obama administration's new immigration policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and will grant the ability to work legally to those who meet the criteria as per the new policy," Pannun added.

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