Obama administration will not deport certain youth

The Obama administration took a step forward on immigrant rights this month after announcing that it would stop deporting some young, undocumented immigrants. In order to be eligible, youth must have came to the United States under the age of 16, have lived in the country for five years, and currently be under the age of 30.

Additionally, according to a June 15 article in “The Huffington Post” only those who have served in the armed forces, are pursuing, or have earned, a high school diploma or GED are able to maintain residence in the United States.

This relief is temporary, said Sioban Albiol, a clinical instructor at DePaul’s law school.

Eligible youth have protection for two years, after which they must seek renewal in order to continue living in the country-provided the program is still in place. Additionally, a June 15 memo from the Department of Homeland Security stated that participants must not “poses a threat to national security or public safety.”

However, Albiol said this is an important step in immigration reform. After continued resistance from Congress to pass the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would grant undocumented youth permanent residency, Albiol said several immigration lawyers petitioned Obama to pursue action without the backing of Congress.

“It provides hope and protection for potentially hundreds of thousands of young people who call the United States home,” Albiol said. According to the Pew Research Center, the new policy could benefit up to 1.4 million children and young adults. “I’m cautiously optimistic that the announcement…can lead to more productive dialogue on immigration reform.”

“Qualified young adults–those who came to the US as children and have pursued education-will have the chance for a reprieve, the opportunity to come out of the shadows and gain some protection from deportation, a social security number and work authorization,” she added. “The message that the administration sends by announcing the program is a powerful one about how it views domestic immigration policy and enforcement priorities.”

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee rights had nothing but praise for the Obama administration.

“We should all take pride today in our President for taking a stand in favor of the American dream,” said CEO Lawrence Benito in an ICIRR press release. “And we will not stop fighting in the streets, and at the ballot box, until we achieve a full DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform in Congress.”

However, members of the Republican party have opposed the announcement, saying it hinders the government’s ability to create more permanent solution. The DePaulia attempted to contact a representative of the Illinois Republicans, but he declined to comment.

A little over a week after the Administration’s announcement, June 25, the Supreme Court ruled against a large portion of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, reinstating that it was the power of the Federal Government to set immigration policies. They struck down provisions that penalized undocumented immigrants for working. However, the most controversial part of the bill remains in tact-law enforcement officials can still demand citizenship information from those whom were stopped were another violation.
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