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How has Obama Handled the Issue of Immigration?

How has Obama Handled the Issue of Immigration?

Immigration has been at the forefront of public debate in America for several years now. It has been a contentious issue, especially with the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border. As the President of the United States, Obama’s administration took up the challenge of dealing with immigration and implementing policies aimed at regulating the influx of immigrants. This article will analyze and explore the policies implemented by Obama in his administration regarding immigration issues.


President Barack Obama was elected to office in 2008, and one of the foremost issues he promised to address was immigration. During his two-term tenure as President, the issue of immigration was one of the most discussed topics of his administration, bringing both praise and criticism from the public.

One of the main issues was the increasing number of undocumented immigrants residing in the US. An estimated 11 million illegal immigrants were living in the US, some of whom had lived in America for decades. This created a complex situation for the Obama administration, as they could not afford to deport each of them. Therefore, they had to develop a comprehensive immigration reform policy that would not only regulate the number of illegal immigrants entering the country but also offer a pathway to citizenship for those already within.

Immigration Reform policies:

The Obama administration put forward several policies aimed at immigration reform. One of the most significant was the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was announced in 2012. This program offered temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. DACA allowed these individuals to work legally and obtain social security numbers, enabling them to live without fear of deportation.

In 2014, the Obama administration also implemented the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) policy. The plan aimed to offer similar eligibility to parents of US citizens and legal permanent residents, who could demonstrate continuous residency in the US for at least five years before the implementation of the law. The policy was not successful as it faced several challenges in the court system and ultimately failed to be implemented.

In conjunction with the DACA policy, the Obama administration also implemented various policies aimed at making the immigration process more accessible and efficient. The administration improved the lawful permanent resident application process by implementing customer service feedback, reduced wait times, increasing transparency, and simplifying the application process.

In June 2013, the Senate introduced their version of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill, commonly known as the “Gang of Eight,” aimed to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the US. Though the bill received considerable support from the public, it failed to pass congress, leading to the administration resorting to executive orders.

Executive Orders:

Due to the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama resorted to issuing several executive orders. These orders aimed at providing temporary relief to illegal immigrants by providing a path for citizenship. One of these executive orders was the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) policy, which aimed at providing a pathway for citizenship for undocumented immigrants with US-born children.

Many of the executive orders issued by the Obama administration aimed at regulating the influx of illegal immigrants into the country. The orders aimed to create more transparency within the immigration process by enhancing border security, providing additional resources for immigration inspectors, and establishing guidelines for immigrant detention.

One of these executive orders, the Secure Communities program, was introduced by the Obama administration in 2008. The program aimed to increase cooperation between state and federal law enforcement agencies, with the goal of identifying, apprehending, and deporting illegal immigrants who posed a risk to national security.


The immigration policies of the Obama administration were met with both praise and criticism. Opponents of the administration argued that the policies implemented by Obama made the US a magnet for illegal immigrants. They argued that it encouraged more people to enter the country illegally, creating a humanitarian crisis.

The highly contentious issue ultimately led to a slump in Obama’s popularity among the public, with opponents decrying his apparent lack of action in curbing the influx of illegal immigrants. Critics blamed him for failing to secure the nation’s borders, which led to a rise in illegal immigration, creating a humanitarian crisis for the country.

A related issue was the high number of deportations that occurred under the Obama administration. Between 2009 and 2015, over 2.4 million individuals were deported in the United States, leading to criticism by civil rights activists. They argued that many of these individuals were law-abiding citizens with deep roots within the US, including families, homes, and businesses, and that such deportations caused on-going trauma and disruption.


In conclusion, Obama’s administration attempted to manage the complex issue of immigration with a comprehensive set of policies aimed at curbing the influx of illegal immigrants and providing citizenship pathways for those already in the US. Despite significant opposition and criticism, his administration achieved several significant milestones, such as the implementation of the DACA and the improvement of the lawful permanent resident application process. While some critics argued that the policies created a humanitarian crisis by encouraging illegal immigrants, others celebrated the policies for regulating the immigration system and offering a path to citizenship. Nevertheless, the issue of immigration remains a contentious matter for any US administration.

Prior to his inauguration as President of the United States, Barack Obama pledged to institute the Obama immigration policy, which would include sweeping immigration changes, or at the least, address the sundry immigration problems America faces.

Unfortunately for those who were most eager to hear him speak about the immigration problems facing the country, Barack Obama did little to address the situation. In fact, the President’s speech was characterized just as much by the omission of details as by their inclusion regarding the immigration debate. While, to be fair, President Obama does have a lot on his plate, and problems such as the nation’s unemployment rate and desperate calls for health care reform are of much greater priority than immigration, the immigration debate cannot be summarily ignored. Though President Obama did reference immigration problems facing the nation by name, specifically, citizenship

For participants in the immigration debate with strong opinions on the issue, this did little to assuage their concerns about the statuses of legal immigration and illegal immigration in the United States. Some, in truth, see this as a herald of doom for the resolution of immigration problems in America, at least in the near future, and reading between the lines, they see the absence of new material in the president’s words as a sign that the issue of immigration is being put aside for the time being.

Regardless of political position, though, many find fault with the President on the simple basis that he has neglected to adhere to his earlier promises. While some are critics who merely want the man to live up to his word, others such as Mexican migrants who stand to benefit or be hurt in practical terms can not afford to be as patient. Many believe that the Obama immigration policy would fix many of our immigration problems if it was actually enacted.