Dara Lind does some calculations:
Obama’s upcoming plan is being characterized, in advance, as relief for 5 million unauthorized immigrants. But based on the rumors about who’d be likely to be included in the plan, that’s not exactly accurate.
What it looks like is that, by the time Obama’s new plan goes into effect, 5 million unauthorized immigrants, in total, will be eligible to apply for protection from deportation. That includes immigrants who are already eligible for protection — even before any new plan is announced — because they qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Obama administration introduced in 2012.
If the undocumented parents of American citizens are allowed to stay, Roberto Ferdman figures “we’re talking about an estimated 3.5 million immigrants who currently don’t have protection from deportation”:
There’s a separate possibility that the plan might also include relief for immigrants who arrived in the country as children and are still younger than 18 years old. Those, according to Pew, amount to another 650,000 people. If this group is also included in Obama’s executive action, that would bring the total number of people affected by his action up to 4.15 million.
But this massive number doesn’t account for the millions more indirectly affected by the reform: the families of those who would no longer be deported. Even the most conservative estimate—let’s say 2.8 million undocumented adults are paired up and each couple has one child—suggests that more than a million children will suddenly not have to worry anymore about whether their parents will be deported.