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The Obama administration is changing the federal immigration enforcement strategy in ways that reduce the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants, even as states such as ArizonaColorado, Virginia, Ohio and Texas are pushing to accelerate deportations.

The changes focus enforcement on immigrants who have committed serious crimes, an effort to unclog immigration courts and detention centers. A record backlog of deportation cases has forced immigrants to wait an average 459 days for their hearings, according to an Aug. 12 report by Syracuse University‘s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which analyzes government data.

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