President Barack Obama's administrative actions will cover as many as 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally. Rough estimates of those affected:
- 4.1 million: Parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the United States for at least 5 years
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told immigration enforcement employees Thursday that the government estimates that there are roughly 4.1 million people in this category, and they will qualify for protection from deportation. Not all of those people are expected to sign up, and some may already be participating in previously announced protection programs.
- 290,000: Immigrants who came to the U.S. as children before 2010
The Migration Policy Institute, an immigration think tank in Washington, estimates that as many as 290,000 people could qualify under liberalized requirements for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, originally launched in 2012. DACA previously had been limited to immigrants under 31.
- 610,000: Young immigrants already protected from deportation
According to statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees immigration benefits for the Homeland Security Department, about 610,000 young immigrants are already shielded from deportation. Hundreds of thousands more people are believed to be eligible for the program.
Johnson told staffers at USCIS, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement that millions of other immigrants not specifically included in the deportation protection programs wouldn't be priorities for immigration enforcement.
Under Obama's immigration overhaul plan, authorities will now focus enforcement efforts on those immigrants with serious criminal histories, including those who pose a national security or public safety threat or are adult members of a gang. Other priorities include people caught crossing the border illegally or ordered out of the country this year, and those with three or more misdemeanors or "significant" misdemeanors.