President Obama has created a deportation waiver for young illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children. It is a credible, admirable mix of what is right in terms of politics and budget priorities.
PRESIDENT Obama has sensibly and responsibly used his executive powers to temper the deportation of younger illegal immigrants building productive lives in this country.
The announcement Friday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is not a pathway to citizenship, but the immunity from deportation recognizes the reality of young people brought to this country as infants and children.
Failure to act needlessly puts young illegal immigrants at risk, and squanders scarce federal resources on a narrow slice of immigration enforcement that yields no value for the country.
Nothing about this process is automatic. It would provide a waiver from deportation for applicants brought to this country before they were 16 and are younger than 30, have lived here for five years, have no criminal history, graduated from high school, earned a GED or served in the military.
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This is the essence of legislation crafted as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, the DREAM Act. The measured passed the U.S. House in 2010 and perished in the U.S. Senate.
Verifiable documentation will be required of those who apply for waivers, but Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, says “This is huge.”
The DREAM Act was once a bipartisan effort, but it was abandoned by some Republicans as Congress has embraced partisan rancor and gridlock as an operating model. Still, The Associated Press reports the Obama plan resembles an alternative to the DREAM Act proposed by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
Obama’s action is rife with political timing and electoral considerations. He has seen support erode in Latino communities because of his administration’s aggressive deportation activity.
This year and last, the U.S. is expected to deport nearly 800,000.
The targets have been those perceived to be a threat to public safety and national security. This new approach, whose procedures and details are still unknown, gives a break to those enriching our society.
Young people pursuing education, qualifying for renewable work permits and considering service in the military are valued neighbors. They are earning and building a case for eventual citizenship.
Recognize and protect those doing their best to do things right.