Someone mentioned the improved civility on the blog, in part because I am moderating and banning now with greater alacrity, and, in part, because we haven’t had many hot button issues that bring out the worst in posters.
Well, here comes one.
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, announced Friday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It 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.
Here is one of the first reactions out of the gate from an education organization on the President’s action:
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:
“All children deserve access to a quality public education and a fair shot at realizing their dreams. President Obama has given hope to young people who have demonstrated good citizenship by pursuing college or protecting our nation. The nearly 1 million youths affected by this decision have done everything our society has asked them to do. They have worked hard, studied hard, and are pursuing college educations. These young immigrants are our students, and they deserve a chance to become productive members of our society without living with constant fear and uncertainty.
“It is certainly appropriate that the president’s action comes on the 30th anniversary of the historic Plyler v. Doe decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was against the law to deny children access to public education, regardless of their citizenship or that of their parents. Now more than ever, Congress needs to pass the DREAM Act and give hardworking students a path toward legal permanent status and, eventually, citizenship. Maintaining barriers to their success does nothing to benefit our economy, our national security or our collective well-being.”
And from the Georgia House Democrats:
“The United States is a nation of immigrants, and the youngest members of our society deserve understanding and compassion. These are young people educated in our schools or serving in our military,” said House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. “Deporting hardworking, responsible and law-abiding young people is unjust; and I am pleased to see that the Obama administration has eased deportation rules that benefit no one.”
“Creating a path to citizenship for undocumented students should be priority of this nation, and this is a critical first step,” said Rep. Pedro Marin. “This new policy will affect as many as 800,00 immigrants who have lived the past years in fear of deportation. I cheer President Obama for his decision to halt deportations of young undocumented immigrants.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog