Executive Order Authorizes Parts of DREAM Act

I'm not a huge fan of executive orders, but as long as the Office of the President has that power, it might as well be used on stuff like this:
The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.

The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act [Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act], a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.

...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. The officials who described the plan spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it in advance of the official announcement.

The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods.
This is not a perfect plan. One major objection I have is the blanket disqualification for criminal history, irrespective of whether the arrest was for, say, assault vs. getting caught with some weed. When young people of color are disproportionately targeted by "war on drug" policies, there will be a lot of pointless disqualifications for what effectively amounts to rank racism.

I'm also not happy it lacks a roadmap to citizenship.

That said, this policy is an improvement over our current immigration policies. It's opportunistic politicking, but it's a step in the right direction all the same.

There is much more yet to do.

Related Reading: Why Obama's Decision to Stop Deporting DREAM-Eligible Youth Is Good for the Economy.

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