President Obama has issued an executive order that will stop the deportations of some undocumented youth. Under the administration’s plan, immigrants who meet certain requirements will not be deported if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30. They must have lived in the country for at least five continuous years; have no criminal history; and graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. Those deemed eligible will be able to apply for a work permit good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. Announcing the move on Friday, Obama stressed that his plan does not amount to “amnesty.”
President Obama: “These are young people who study in our schools. They play in our neighborhoods. They’re friends with our kids. They pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one — on paper. Now, let’s be clear. This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary, stopgap measure. ”
More than 800,000 people could now be immune from deportation. Obama’s decision bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. The White House shift came after undocumented activists occupied four Obama campaign offices around the country earlier in the week.