Obama administration will halt deportation of DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants

Hallelujah:

The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would suspend deportation proceedings against many illegal immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety.

The new policy is expected to help thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as young children, graduated from high school and want to go on to college or serve in the armed forces.

White House and immigration officials said they would exercise “prosecutorial discretion” to focus enforcement efforts on cases involving criminals and people who have flagrantly violated immigration laws.

Under the new policy, the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, can provide relief, on a case-by-case basis, to young people who are in the country illegally but pose no threat to national security or to the public safety

This is big. In the midst of state anti-immigration legislation galore, tons of deportations, discrimination and demonization by the right, things are finally beginning to look up for undocumented students and other immigrants out of status who have been working and living as Americans for years. Hopefully this will only propel the DREAM Act forward and not stall it, as well as move reform forward so that all undocumented folks are given a fair shake.

Commenter Alanna pointed out something that I think is important to add: while this is an improvement, this doesn’t mean that DREAMers can’t still be deported:

“…people who have flagrantly violated immigration laws” could be interpreted as someone who missed a court date when they were a minor.

There’s still a good chance that deportations may continue for many, and for the most minor of offenses. Let’s hope we see some real change come out of this.

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 19, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t hold your breath on this. “…people who have flagrantly violated immigration laws” could be interpreted as someone who missed a court date when they were a minor. Plus, the Morton Memo has been out for more than a month and yet many DREAMers are still facing deportation. Like the Morton Memo, it’s something else that hopes to make us complacent while DREAM Act youth continue to be deported.

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