Immigrant Angel Eduardo Aguiluz, from Honduras, gets help with filing for the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program.
In mid-August, some 1.7 million young people got a new reason to smile. They are children who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents, and the reason for their good cheer is the chance to be free of deportation threats, at least for a while. They also have the chance to apply for work permits.
In June, President Barack Obama extended the two-year freedom from deportation offer to people who:
- came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthdays
- have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time
- were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or whose lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012
- are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general educational development (GED) certification, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
- have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat
- were present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for consideration of deferred action with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
To qualify, applicants must complete a form and pay a $465 fee.
The executive order was praised by many Latino groups and immigrant advocates, but it received sharp criticism from other observers. Americans who oppose any sort of leniency toward undocumented immigrants blasted the move as a step toward amnesty. At least one politician took a specific step in response: Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona immediately signed an executive order of her own denying state benefits, including driver’s licenses, to deferred action recipients.
Image credit: ©Jose L. Magana/AP Images
Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ProcessThis official government site describes the steps young people must take to take advantage of the deferment; includes a video and FAQs.
(Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; accessed August 31, 2012)
President Obama Speaks on Department of Homeland Security Immigration Announcement
Watch the video of President Obama’s speech on the topic or read the transcript.
(Source: The White House, June 15, 2012)
Romney Plans to Replace Obama’s Executive Order with “Long-Term Solution” on Immigration
For an opposing viewpoint, read this article from The National Review.
(Source: The National Review, June 21, 2012)