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.