The DREAM Act — which would provide a path to citizenship for young Americans brought into the country without documentation by their parents — could never make it past Sen. Mitch McConnell’s filibuster. But according to the AP, President Obama will be taking matters into his own hands today, at the very least insuring that such people (not the noun “illegals”) are not deported:
WASHINGTON – 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. It also 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.
Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned an equivalent degree, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. The officials who described the plan spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it in advance of the official announcement.
The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods.
“Many of these young people have already contributed to our country in significant ways,” Napolitano wrote in a memorandum describing the administration’s action. “Prosecutorial discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”
As LEO mentioned in our DREAM Act story back in October, top-notch students in Kentucky live in constant fear of being deported. Not only will that end with this policy change, but as Think Progress notes, this will only help the economy.
Since conservatives and Republicans are all about compassion and lowering the federal deficit, they’ll obviously celebrate this decision…