On Friday, the Obama Administration will announce that it will cease deportation for illegal immigrants who meet the requirements of the DREAM Act, which would allow illegal immigrants without criminal records but with high school diplomas or military service records to remain in the U.S.
According to the Associated Press, two senior administration officials released details of the announcement to come from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Barack Obama Friday afternoon.
The DREAM Act, which has never been passed by both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives during the same legislative session, was not specifically mentioned. However, the same stipulations the act calls for are the ones under this new plan that allow certain illegal immigrants to stay legally in the U.S. on work permits.
Under the plan, illegal immigrants will receive immunity from deportation if:
- they were brought to the U.S. before they were 16,
- they are under the age of 30,
- they have been in the U.S. for five continuous years,
- have no criminal history,
- graduated from high school with a diploma or earned a GED or served in the military.
The eligible immigrants will be able to apply for work permits that are good for two years and have no limit on how many times they can reapply.
Under the new plan, children who are illegal immigrants cannot apply for the deportation waiver until they turn 16, but cannot be deported before then, either.
According to the Associated Press, the policy change would affect 800,000 immigrants, like Pebblebrook alumna Dulce Guerrero.
Guerrero said she knows some people may call her cynical, but for her the announcement is not a victory.
"This is not an executive order. This is not what we're asking for. This is just an announcement...We're not taking it as an endorsement now," Guerrero said.
She is an active member of the DREAM ACTivist network and helped organize this week's rally in front of the Obama Campaign Office in Atlanta. She said she and other young illegal immigrants will continue to rally in front of Obama Campaign Offices throughout the nation until an executive order is given.
This news comes exactly one week before Obama is scheduled to speak before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' annual conference in Orlando, Fla. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romeny will address the organization Thursday.
What do you think of this announcement? Will this help pave a way for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant children? Tell us below in the comments.