President Obama announced a new cabinet-level directive today that treats young undocumented immigrants with compassion and respect for their contributions to our nation. Effective immediately, young people who were brought into the country illegally as children will no longer be deported. As the president said in his statement:
“Let’s be clear, this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship, this is not a permanent fix,” Obama said from the White House Rose Garden. “This is the right thing to do.”
It’s only a temporary fix because Republicans have relentlessly obstructed any debate or action in dealing with the millions of undocumented immigrants who live here and contribute to our economy now. How to deal with the parents who entered illegally is still an open issue, but no child should be punished when they had no choice in their status. And it’s no free ride. The requirements are strict:
Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.
As for the critics who are carping about helping Americans first, go tell it to the Republicans. They’re the ones who are preventing every policy proposal President Obama has made to put Americans back to work from even reaching the floor of the House and Senate for a fair up or down vote.