Report: Metro Atlanta home to 184,000 immigrants without legal status

An estimated 184,000 immigrants are living illegally in the metro Atlanta area and 68,000 of them are eligible for relief under the Obama administration's executive actions on immigration, according to report released Thursday.

Gwinnett County is home to the largest population of immigrants without legal status at 71,000, according to the report by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank that evaluates migration policies. Gwinnett is followed by DeKalb County, 42,000; Fulton County, 37,000; and Cobb County, 34,000. The report also includes an estimate for Hall County at 16,000. In all, the report includes estimates for 94 counties nationwide.

Based on census data from 2008-2012, the report was released a day after the Republican-led House approved legislation to halt President Barack Obama’s actions. Congressional Republicans say the president’s plan is unconstitutional. The White House says it is acting within its legal authority.

Citing inaction in Congress, Obama announced in November that he was acting unilaterally to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation. The centerpiece of his plan involves suspending the threat of deportation for immigrants who don’t have legal status but do have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. His administration is also expanding a similar relief program for immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children.