White House Halting Young Illegal Immigrant Deportations
The Obama administration has said it will halt deporting up to 800,000 young undocumented immigrants and will in some instances give them work permits. This is a sweeping new initiative the Department of Homeland Security has announced.
People less than 30, who overstayed their visas or came into the country illegally when they were less than 16 years of age, will be immune to deportation if they have a clean record for felonies or misdemeanors and have a diploma from a U.S. high school or are a member of the U.S. armed forces.
They automatically can apply for a two-year work permit that is renewable that will not provide them with a path to become a citizen, but will give them the right to work in the U.S. Each applicant must be able to prove he or she has been in the U.S. for at least five straight years.
On Friday, the head of Homeland Security, Secretary Janet Napolitano said she believed the move was the correct thing and will aid the agency on focusing on the deportation of criminals. She said it did not amount to immunity or amnesty. She said it was a discretionary exercise so the young people are no longer in the system to be deported.
Young people must be proactive, apply and pay for the legal status at any local U.S. Citizenship ad Immigration office. If the status is given to them, they can then apply for their work permit. President Obama was scheduled to announce the change in policy at a speech Friday afternoon.