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New U.S. immigration policies emphasize family ties

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A new U.S. policy advocated by the Obama administration is aimed at easing the pain for families when some members face deportation as illegal immigrants.

The Family Interest Directive was announced Friday by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, The Hill reported.

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Under the new rules, parents would be able to visit children being held in detention centers and would allow them to participate in their children's deportation hearings. In some cases, parents who have been deported would be allowed to visit children in the United States, and immigration officials would have more freedom to consider family situations when deciding if someone should be deported.

Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus for Children, praised the new policy, saying it would cut the possibility that immigration enforcement will "tear families apart."

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Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., head of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement the changes show President Obama and his allies are not serious about immigration reform. The committee approved legislation in June that would limit Obama's ability to introduce policies not authorized by Congress and give more power to state and local agencies to enforce immigration laws.

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"President Obama has once again abused his authority and unilaterally refused to enforce our current immigration laws by directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to stop removing broad categories of unlawful immigrants," he said. "The primary reason why our immigration system is broken today is because our immigration laws have largely been ignored by past and present administrations. It's imperative that we prevent this from happening again by taking away the enforcement 'on/off' switch from the president."

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