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Major news in Obama immigration policy: DREAMers won’t be deported (with correction)

The Obama administration will stop deporting young immigrants that entered the United States and children and went on to live law-abiding lives, according to reporting by the Associated Press.

The move is a major victory for immigrant rights groups, which had come close to getting the protections through last year’s DREAM Act, which would have given a path to citizenship or residency to young immigrants who came into the country without documents at the behest of parents and then went on to attend or graduate from high school, received a GED or enlisted in the military.

From the AP story:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.

The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.

A formal announcement will be made later today by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, according to the AP.

The new plan aims to protect young immigrants from deportation who entered the U.S. before age 16, and are now under the age of 30, have been in the country for five years, have no extensive criminal history and have attended or graduated from a U.S. high school or served in the military. The youth may then be able to apply for work permits, which would permit them to work in the country legally.

Correction note: The original version of this post incorrectly stated that the DREAM Act applied to those who pursued higher education. The DREAM Act would have affected those who gradated from a U.S. high school, and the post has been changed to reflect that correction. Apologies for the mistake.

Also, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services is updating information regularly on the new Obama administration policy, and you can click here to get the most updated information about how the policy will be carried out.

8 Comments

  1. Frank Burns

    June 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Obama doesn’t have the authority to rule by edict, even if he needs all the Hispanic votes he can get. This will need congressional approval.

  2. Hector

    June 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Let us hope that these words are backed up with action. Please follow the link below, to tell the president that we are all watching to make sure this is truly made real. It is a petition created by presente.org (one of the most important immigrant rights groups in the country).

    http://act.presente.org/sign/withdreamers?akid=612.391612.AWFwkn&rd=1&t=2

    Those that work in the immigrant rights community applaud this announcement; but we also realize that it takes vigilance to make sure that it is truly put into affect. Last year many applauded the president’s announcement of prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases. In the end, it was and still is a failure. This is not to say that we should not be thankful and applaud this effort. I am only saying that we should not accept this on just words. Let us push for action as well.

  3. Frank Burns

    June 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Hector, I see that you have also noticed that Obama will say anything to anyone to get votes. Sadly his deeds fall way short. As Gov. Romney has stated, “talk is cheap”.

  4. Hector

    June 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    In no way, shape, or form was my post intended to be an attack on the president. I was just stating that like any politician (regardless of party affiliation), he must be held accountable for what he says. Since you brought up Romney, your quote holds true for him too. He is really big on trying to talk his way out of his own messes.

    Romney himself is not a good option either. His own family in Mexico is disappointed in him, for not supporting the DREAM act. Check out this video about it: http://youtu.be/PKxW2MXTocQ

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  6. Frank Burns

    June 15, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Hector, I took you comment as an endorsement of Mitt Romney. I’m disappointed.

    What this shows us where Obama’s priorities are towards foreigners over unemployed Americans.

  7. Alfredo Lozano

    June 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Young people that were brought into this country should not be at fault. This isn’t a long term solution but a temporary step in the right direction. These immigrants should be protected.

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