|June 19, 2012|
For those that have anticipated the Dream Act to become reality, we are almost there. On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration revealed a new initiate which will orders the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to STOP DEPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE!
The initiative is meant to allow children who came to the United States before their 16th birthday to remain in the United States. Young people that do not present a risk to national security or public safety and meet key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the U.S. Additionally, DHS will grant work authorization in two year increments.
It has been over a decade since the last real immigration reform. There has been much discussion of a DREAM ACT paving a path to citizenship for young people who came to this country as minors by no fault of their own. However, the reality of the DREAM ACT never materialized. In the past three years, we have witnessed record high deportations in the United States. Many young people have been deported back to countries they don’t remember. To these people, America is their home. They should not be deported. DHS has concurred and has reiterated its focus on committing resources on deporting individuals who pose a danger to national security or risk to public safety and not to productive youth.
“Our nation’s immigration law must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”
While the actual Dream Act is being contemplated, DHS will halt the deportation of productive youth. Eligible applicants will be granted deferred action. Just as it sounds, DHS will defer any action (deportation) of eligible youth and grant them work permits so they can continue to be productive in our society. To be eligible, individuals must have come to the United States under the age of sixteen, have continuously resided in the U.S. for five years, be in school or have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, have not been convicted of a felony, and is not above the age of thirty. This deferred action initiative also applies to people that have been ordered deported.
Again, this new initiative is not the DREAM ACT. It will not lead to a green card or citizenship. However, this does lead us one step closer to reform. To benefit for any future immigration reforms, one must be present in the United States. Deferred action will help young people across the nation remain in the United States until that day comes.