President Obama this morning will restore the dreams of as many as 1 million young aspiring citizens with a new directive to Department of Homeland Security halting the deportation of those young immigrants who would be eligible for U.S. residency under the terms of the DREAM Act.
For several years, Republican lawmakers in Congress have blocked the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act would provide undocumented young people who were brought to the United States by their parents as children a pathway to legal residency through higher education or service in the military.
Yesterday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent a letter to Obama urging that he use his executive authority to step the deportations, saying:
Such relief would provide a talented group of young people who stand to contribute greatly to our nation’s economy with a small measure of security that they will be able to remain in the place they call home.
Under the president’s “deferred action” directive, students in the United States who already are in deportation proceedings, or those who qualify for the DREAM Act, will not be deported and will be allowed to work in the United States. To be eligible, applicants must be between 15 and 30 years old, have lived in the United States for five years, and maintain continuous U.S. residency.
People who have one felony, one serious misdemeanor, or three minor misdemeanors will be ineligible to apply. “Deferred action” will last for two years and can be renewed.
The directive halting the deportations is a huge victory for an inspirational group of young activists who built a movement for social justice. Find out more at United We Dream here.