Today, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a big change to deportation policies. Under the new policy, the Obama Administration said it will stop deportations against law-abiding younger illegal immigrants who came to the country as children. Instead, the administration will begin granting work permits to these individuals.
The policy change means as many as 800,000 illegal immigrants currently living in the United States may no longer have to live in fear of deportation. It reaches some of the same goals proposed by the DREAM Act, which has stalled in Congress for years.
The purpose of the DREAM Act was to make it easier for illegal immigrants who came to the United States at a young age to become citizens by attending college or joining the military.
Although the new policy will not pave the way to U.S. citizenship, it does protect these individuals from deportation and allows them to work legally in the country for extended periods of time.
More specifically, the new plan will grant immunity from deportation to illegal immigrants who: 1) were brought to the United States before they turned 16; 2) are currently younger than 30; 3) have lived in the country for at least five years straight; 4) have no criminal record; and 5) graduated from a high school in the United States, earned a GED, or served in the military.
Additionally, the new plan allows these individuals to apply for a work permit that will be valid for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. As you can see, this is extremely good news for young immigrants who are living in the country illegally, constantly in fear of deportation.
Please check back tomorrow for more on this important issue.
Source: Associated Press, "New Obama policy will spare some from deportation," Alicia A. Caldwell, June 15, 2012