Young Illegal Immigrants Can Now Apply For Two-Year Deportation Reprieve
Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children can start applying Wednesday to remain and work in the country without threat of deportation, per a new program started by the Obama administration, according to USA Today.
Democrats in Congress previously failed to pass the DREAM Act, which would have granted legal residency to young illegal immigrants without criminal records and who have been to college or served in the military.
The new program, called Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, according to CNN, was put in place by President Obama in June, and will allow the young illegal immigrants a two-year reprieve from threat of deportation.
Pending approval by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the young people known as DREAMers could also apply for work permits and later reapply for another deportation reprieve.
The program pertains to those who were brought to the United States before they turned 16, and who have no criminal records, and went to school or served in the military.
CNN said: The shift on the politically volatile issue of immigration policy elicited praise from Latino leaders, while Republicans reacted with outrage, saying the move amounts to amnesty -- a negative buzzword among conservatives -- and usurps congressional authority.
"This is not amnesty," Obama said. "This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure."
CNN has video:
According to CNN, President Obama has been criticized by Latino leaders for the increase in deportations of illegal immigrants during his administration.
Last year, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 396,906 undocumented people, the largest number of deportations of illegal immigrants in its history.
According to USA Today, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated that up to 1.7 million illegal immigrants could qualify for the reprieve.
USA Today said that Congress also warned potential applicants that attempting to defraud the system will not only hurt themselves, but also the entire movement to grant them full legal status.
"Tell the truth on the applications," said Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., an original sponsor of the DREAM Act. "There is nothing that will hurt our long-term cause or your individual situation more than misrepresenting critical facts on that form. It will come back to haunt you in ways you can't anticipate."
Homeland security officials said that while they won't use the applications to round up illegal immigrants, they will pursue those who lie on their applications, pose a threat to public safety or have a serious criminal record.
Read more of Neon Tommy's Election 2012 coverage here.