In office, he has scaled back his plans in some areas but pushed ahead with full force in others, often drawing legal challenges and public protest. More than half of undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States for more than a decade; nearly one-third are the parents of U.
But there are proportionally fewer immigrants today than in 1890, when foreign-born residents comprised 15 percent of the population. The undocumented population is about eleven million and has leveled off since the 2008 economic crisis, which led some to return to their home countries and discouraged others from coming to the United States.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s inability to overhaul the nation’s immigration system will stand as the most glaring failure in his effort to enact a vision of social change. Advocates and allies will credit him with embracing a newly aggressive assertion of executive power that, despite last week’s Supreme Court deadlock and political opposition, remains a legal pathway for the next president. “Immigration is not something to fear,” Obama said last week.
Despite two campaigns full of promises and multiple strategies, he imposed only incremental, largely temporary modifications. The missed goal is part of a legacy that included a sometimes contradictory mix of policies — some aimed at bringing immigrants “out of the shadows,” others at removing them from the U. Obama will be remembered for protecting 730,000 young people, a generation of so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the U. And he will go down as a leader who consistently defended the importance of immigrants in American life, as anti-immigrant sentiment swelled up in parts of the U. “We don’t have to wall ourselves off from those who may not look like us right now or pray like we do, or have a different last name.” But Obama also will be remembered as a president who prioritized other issues, missing perhaps the best chance to pass sweeping legislation and only reluctantly adjusting his strategy in the face of firm opposition.
Another Pew study found that without immigrants, the U. workforce would decline from 173.2 million in 2015 to 165.6 million in 2035; the workforce is expected to grow to 183.2 million if immigration levels remain steady, according to the report.
A 2019 Gallup poll found that 76 percent of Americans considered immigration a good thing for the United States.The deadlock, resulting from a Republican blockade against Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, left the constitutionality of the action unsettled. “If the Supreme Court had ruled in his favor, he’d probably be remembered as the person who helped to protect half of the undocumented population in the country,” said Frank Sharry, founder of the immigration reform group America’s Voice.Instead, he said Obama will be most remembered for his administration’s deportations. Work to modernize the border and bring new order to a chaotic deportation system isn’t necessarily conveyed in the calculation, officials argue.“Devising that approach and implementing it has fundamentally changed the way laws are enforced and has had a real impact on communities,” said Cecilia Munoz, the president’s chief adviser on immigration.“That’s a very, very big change.” Could Obama have charted a different course on immigration?With its 4-4 tie, the court thwarted Obama’s last chance to shield up to 4 million people from deportation.The decision left in place an injunction freezing his 2014 executive action, which had expanded his protection of Dreamers and temporarily protected some parents of people with legal status.Along the way, he broke a campaign promise to back overhaul legislation on immigration in his first year.It was 2011 before Obama endorsed a set of reform principles.When his presidency ends in January, Obama will leave behind an outdated and overwhelmed system, with some 11 million people living in the U. And his administration aggressively enforced current laws, deporting more than 2.4 million people.The total is nearly as many as his two predecessors combined.