Immigration influx leads to federal and local policy changes

Sparked by a surge in Central American migrants fleeing their homes due to poverty and violence, protests near San Diego calling to deport immigrants reignited the debate surrounding immigration policy. In one example, 100 protesters sought to turn back buses of immigrants heading to a Border Patrol facility. Filled mostly with women and children, the buses were rerouted, which sparked counter-protests by immigrant rights groups. 
In light of both these protests and the rapid increase of immigrants seeking refuge from poverty and violence in their home countries, the Justice Department announced that it would shift its priorities to address the backlog of pending immigration cases so that these cases will be resolved within two to three months instead of the current two to three years. In addition, President Obama, calling this “an urgent humanitarian situation,” has requested that Congress provide $3.7 billion to set up new detention facilities, conduct more aerial surveillance of the border, and hire more immigration judges and Border Patrol agents. This request has been met with deep political division. The debate has been complicated by the fact that many of these immigrants, 52,000 of which include children, face extreme poverty, violence, high murder rates, and political corruption in their home countries. 
In New York City, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation on July 10 that would provide all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, municipal identification cards, following similar programs in New Haven and San Francisco. Anticipated to begin in January 2015, the program will help immigrants access city services. The Mayor stated that this program will provide many previously unattainable resources and opportunities for immigrants that require state-issued ID.

Direct Service Implications

Local service providers will need to adapt to newly accessible resources and services as previously undocumented immigrants are able to obtain ID. City services and non-profit organizations should be providing more information as January approaches. The NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs currently offers a variety of services, such as housing, domestic violence, and employment services, among others, regardless of citizenship status. An additional manual can also inform clients of their eligibility for certain services.


Courtesy of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research who has kindly given SJS permission to syndicate this piece.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the Policy News Briefs are not necessarily the views of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research or NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. If you have comments or suggestions about this service, contact us at


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