After years of getting nowhere with the DREAM Act, President Obama has decided to pass a version of it on his own. Obama and Janet Napolitano will announce today that, according to new Homeland Security policy, certain young-ish illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors will no longer face the threat of deportation and can apply for a documentation that would allow them to work in the United States. As Think Progress reports:
To be eligible, applicants have to be between 15 and 30 years old, live in the U.S. for five years, and maintain continuous U.S. residency. People who have one felony, one serious misdemeanor, or three minor misdemeanors will be ineligible to apply.
The new policy will apply to 800,000 people, according to the AP. It's not citizenship, as the DREAM Act would grant, but those 800,000 people who no longer have to fear deportation won't be complaining.
Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP will be furious. Not just because they oppose "amnesty," but because Obama just gave himself a huge advantage in the all-important battle for 2012's Hispanic vote.
Update: For those wondering how Obama can, you know, do this, a memo by Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano describes the new policy as a matter of "prosecutorial discretion."
Our Nation's immigration laws must be enforced in a strong and sensible manner. They are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Indeed, many of these young people have already contributed to our country in significant ways. Prosecutorial discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.