It’s not the DREAM Act, which would give permanent residence — and a later chance for citizenship to illegal immigrants who were brought here as young children, who graduate from U.S. high schools and who earn a college degree or serve in the U.S. military.
But as the Associated Press reports, it is a step in that direction:
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…
“”Many of these young people have already contributed to our country in significant ways,” (Homeland Security Director Janet) Napolitano wrote in a memorandum describing the administration’s action. “Prosecutorial discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”
The plan does not create a path to citizenship nor does it confer permanent residency, because both steps would require changes in U.S. law. It is also likely that under a Republican administration, the policy would be reversed.
But it will prevent, for the time being, the deportation of young people such as Jessica Colotl, the young illegal immigrant who was allowed to graduate from Kennesaw State University. An effort to ban illegal immigrants from all Georgia public colleges failed in the Legislature this year. State policy already bars illegal immigrants from admission to Georgia colleges with competitive admission requirements.
– Jay Bookman