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Obama’s Immigration Plan Mostly Covers Parents

President Obama on Thursday night announced major changes to the U.S. immigration system. The administration’s plan will temporarily remove the threat of deportation for nearly five million undocumented immigrants, focusing mostly on parents.

According to numbers calculated by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan think tank, the bulk of that five million — about 3.7 million — will consist of undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents who have been in the U.S. for at least five years. Obama’s plan would also expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), making another 300,000 undocumented immigrants eligible for the program. Here’s the breakdown:


Whom does Obama’s plan exclude? According to the MPI, of the 11.4 million undocumented immigrants in the country, 6.2 million will remain subject to deportation. There are currently 671,000 undocumented adults who live with only noncitizen children, and 6.5 million who don’t live with any children (that number includes undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legals residents who don’t live with their children).

Obama said Thursday that his plan prioritizes “deporting felons, not families.” And the percentage of deportations that involved undocumented immigrants convicted of a crime has increased significantly from 35 percent in 2007 to 59 percent last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security. But those numbers include minor infractions like traffic violations. Since 2003, there have been 433,000 removals of undocumented immigrants convicted exclusively of nonviolent crimes, the MPI has reported.

Hayley Munguia is a former social media editor and a data reporter for FiveThirtyEight.